Hang On, We Have To Elect The London Assembly In May, Too?

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 33 months ago
Hang On, We Have To Elect The London Assembly In May, Too?
Photo by Darrell Godliman from the Londonist Flickr pool

So with the all talk about the mayoral candidates, you'd be forgiven for not realising there's another election happening on 5 May. This one elects members to serve on the London Assembly.

What's the London Assembly?

The Assembly is 25 elected representatives who hold the mayor to account. It's not like the House of Commons — they don't vote on most of the mayor's decisions, and need a two-thirds majority to reject strategies and amend the budget. They're most useful for getting answers out of the mayor and officials like the commissioners from Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police.

Assembly Members (AMs) have also done sterling work on investigating issues that matter to London.

If you find reading words of explanation boring, watch this brief video instead:

Who are the Assembly Members?

Currently, there are 12 Labour members, nine Conservatives and two Lib Dems and Greens apiece.

There are 14 members who represent specific constituencies — generally two or three boroughs that have been stuck together. They're all split between Labour and Conservative.

The other 11 members are 'London-wide'. This means they've been elected by proportional representation and represent all Londoners. Instead of voting for a particular candidate, you vote for a party, and your vote gets tallied up with all the others across the city. Labour and Conservative 'top up' their numbers with these members, and it's also how the smaller parties get a look in. In the past, UKIP and the BNP have had members on the Assembly under this system.

Who's standing in 2016?

You can see the full lists for each constituency and the party lists for London-wide members on the London Elects website.

There are going to be some significant changes no matter what happens, as lots of members are moving on.

Conservatives Kit Malthouse and James Cleverly are now MPs. If their successor candidates win, we will see Tony Devenish representing West Central and Gareth Bacon representing Bexley and Bromley. Bacon is currently a London-wide AM — his place on the list has been taken by Shaun Bailey. Roger Evans is not standing again for Havering and Redbridge; the Conservative candidate, Keith Prince, may be given a run for his money by UKIP's Lawrence Webb. Richard Tracey is also not standing in Merton and Wandsworth, where the Conservative candidate is David Dean.

(Victoria Borwick stood down from the Assembly when she was elected as the Conservative MP for Kensington in 2015; her London-wide replacement, Kemi Badenoch, is standing again.)

The London Assembly in action. Image: @LondonAssembly

For Labour, John Biggs has gone off to be mayor of Tower Hamlets. Replacing him as candidate for Labour in City and East is Unmesh Desai. Val Shawcross is also stepping down; following her as Labour candidate in Lambeth and Southwark is Florence Eshalomi.

Both current Green AMs, Jenny Jones and Darren Johnson, are stepping down after 16 years at City Hall. Sian Berry (also the Green mayoral candidate) and Caroline Russell hope to replace them.

Steven Knight is not standing again as a London-wide Liberal Democrat candidate. It's likely Caroline Pidgeon (also the Lib Dem mayoral candidate) will get returned to City Hall, and Emily Davey is in line for a second seat.

Given the current political climate, it's possible that UKIP could also claim a London-wide seat on the Assembly. Top of their list is Peter Whittle, also the party's mayoral candidate.

Other parties vying for London-wide votes are the Animal Welfare Party, Britain First, BNP, Christian Peoples Alliance, Respect, The House Party and Women's Equality Party.

Last Updated 13 April 2016