London Mayor Election Update

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On Thursday, voters across England and Wales will participate in local elections, a significant event featuring the election of a record 12 metro mayors, including the notable Mayor of London. Sadiq Khan, the incumbent, is seeking a third term for Labour, facing competition from Conservative candidate Susan Hall and others, such as Jeremy Cox of the Reform UK party.

During his campaign, Khan has emphasized achievements like expanding rail and bus services and freezing fares for Londoners. He has also proposed initiatives to address the capital’s pressing issues of cost of living and housing, promising free school meals for all children and the construction of 40,000 new council homes.

The mayoral race has been intensely debated, particularly around Khan’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) expansion, which imposes a daily charge on non-compliant vehicles. Khan extended Ulez to cover all London boroughs in 2023 to improve air quality, although critics argue it adds financial strain during a cost of living crisis. This issue has become central in the election, with candidates like Hall vowing to scrap or alter Ulez, and Cox going further by promising to abolish the policy entirely.

London mayor election Update
London mayor election Update

Another contentious topic is London’s low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), which redirect traffic to improve air quality and safety. Critics claim LTNs increase congestion on other routes, but a recent review supported their effectiveness. However, these are managed at the council level, not directly by the Mayor.

Knife crime in London has also been a key issue, with cases rising since Khan took office. Critics, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, argue that Khan has failed to meet police recruitment targets. Khan counters that he’s working against decades of austerity.

These issues, along with others, have framed what is anticipated to be Khan’s most challenging re-election bid yet, reflecting broader concerns about governance and policy in the capital.

 

 

There have been two significant changes to the voting system:

In 2022, the UK government enacted the Elections Act, ushering in significant changes to the electoral system, particularly impacting how votes are tabulated in London’s mayoral elections.

Previously, voters used the Supplementary Vote system, where they could choose a first and second preference candidate. If no candidate received over 50% of the vote initially and the top two candidates didn’t qualify, the second preference would be counted.

Under the new ‘First Past the Post’ voting system, voters only choose one candidate, similar to general elections.

In both his 2016 and 2021 wins, Mr. Khan secured victory in the second round, falling short of 50% in the first choice. Nevertheless, under the revised system, Khan would have still prevailed, receiving more votes than his closest rival in both contests.

 

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