London Mayoral And London Assembly Elections 2024: A Brief Guide

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London Mayoral And London Assembly Elections 2024: A Brief Guide
A polling station sign, saying way in to the right
Image Matt Brown

When is the 2024 Mayoral Election?

The election will be held on 2 May 2024. It's the seventh time Londoners have gone to the polls to elect a Mayor.

Who else are we electing that day?

Importantly, the election day is not just to determine the new Mayor. Londoners will also vote for London Assembly members — 25 in total. 2 May will also see local elections across the country for councillors, mayors and crime commissioners.

Who are the candidates for Mayor of London in 2024?

Labour: Incumbent Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced in January 2022 that he would seek re-election as the Labour candidate. He remains the man to beat. If successful, he will become the first person to hold the role for a third term.

Conservative: Susan Hall has been selected from a shortlist of relative unknowns. Hall is a noted fan of both Boris Johnson and Donald Trump and is riding a populist ticket to City Hall. She had the most direct experience on the Tory shortlist, having served on the London Assembly since 2017. Her right-wing views may not be the easiest fit for many Londoners, but she is at least able to garner press coverage and has even become a meme.

Green party: Hackney councillor and NHS inequalities advisor Zoë Garbett is the Green candidate. The Greens have increased their vote share at each subsequent Mayoral election.

Liberal democrats: Life-long Londoner and startup tech advisor Rob Blackie has been selected to represent the Lib Dems. His previous experience includes serving as former Lib-Dem leader Charles Kennedy's Director of Research.

Reform UK: The right-wing populist party is fielding Howard Cox, a small-business advisor with a track record of campaigning for lower motor fuel prices.

Social Democrats: Amy Gallagher is a nurse who wants free transport for under-25s and less wokery.

Independents: A number of Independent candidates and representatives of minor parites have also declared their interest in running. In alphabetical order:

  • Femy Amin: Animal Welfare Party, seeking a more biodiverse London.
  • Count Binface: Perennial trashcan-helmeted candidate seeks nomination once again. Previous policies include halving the Tories and bringing back CEEFAX. This time, he wants to rename London Bridge after Phoebe Waller.
  • Natalie Campbell: CEO and university chancellor who'll back the Bakerloo extension and survey Londoners to help shape policy.
  • Tarun Ghulati: Investment banker, and another anti-ULEZ campaigner.
  • Andreas Michli: Also wants to scrap ULEZ, but additionally wants the police to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Brian Rose: London Real Party. "Did not submit a mini-manifesto," according to londonelects.org.
  • Nick Scanlon: Britain First. Thinks London is an "unrecognisable disaster zone" and blames immigration.

What does each major party candidate stand for?

London has entered a golden era of council house building sign
Khan got in early with his campaign messaging. Posters like this appeared in 2023 across the tube. Image Matt Brown

Incumbent Mayor Sadiq Khan will be looking to consolidate his current big projects, such as cutting air pollution and building more council housing (40,000 new homes by the end of the decade). He's also announced new green policies that would deliver a 100% zero-emission bus fleet in London by 2030, add more than 40,000 new bike parking spaces, and ramp up the number of electric vehicle charging points. In a last minute pledge, Khan has also vowed to end homelessness in London by 2030, which begs an obvious question about his previous eight years in power.

Tory candidate Susan Hall would scrap the ULEZ expansion and low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs). She's going hard on Khan over his roads policies, warning that he intends to introduce 'pay per mile' road tolls (something Khan denies). She's also going hard on my personal photo library, photoshopping one of my images without credit. Hall would also reduce VAT on goods for overseas visitors, to encourage tourism and recruit more police officers.

The Green party's Zoë Garbett has a headline pledge to freeze rent for two years. She would also introduce a flat fee across the tube network, meaning it'd cost the same to travel from Leicester Square to Covent Garden, as from Uxbridge to Upminster (Diamond Geezer has a good analysis). She's also keen to tackle injustice and inequality, create 10 new parks, and has a greater emphasis on working with local communities to set policy.

The Lib Dem's Rob Blackie says his campaign will focus on "tackling crime, keeping London welcoming for European citizens and others who are threatened by Home Office incompetence, and cleaning up London’s rivers". His big policy idea is to create a public housing developer, the London Housing Company, to get home building back on track.

Reform's Howard Cox has three simple pledges: Scrap ULEZ, Cut Crime and Ditch Khan. The first echoes the Tory candidate, the second echoes every candidate ever, and the third is a logical consequence of winning rather than a policy.

Quick reminder: Who were the previous Mayors of London?

Only three people have served as Mayor of London since the role was created at the turn of the millennium. The election takes place every four years (with one anomaly caused by Covid).

  • Ken Livingstone ruled the roost from 2000 until 2008, having performed a similar role as head of the Greater London Council in the 1980s.
  • Boris Johnson succeeded him in 2008, and remained in post for two full terms until 2016. (Although some would say his attentions had wandered elsewhere in the final years.)
  • Sadiq Khan took on the mantle in 2016. He was re-elected in 2021 in an election delayed for a year because of Covid-19.

(Hilariously, Chat-GPT thought that Shaun Bailey had also served as Mayor, when we asked a few months ago. He was the defeated Tory candidate in the 2021 election.)

What powers does the Mayor of London actually have?

The new City Hall in Docklands
City Hall, home of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. Image Matt Brown

For such a high-profile position, the Mayor of London has surprisingly limited direct authority — and most of this power is concentrated in a few pockets: transport, policing and housing.

And they can't just do as they please. The Mayor's initiatives are scrutinised and held to account by the London Assembly. Mayor and Assembly together form the Greater London Authority (GLA), which works closely with local councils and is required to follow central government guidance.

So while a Mayor has the power to, say, develop planning strategy, it's down to local councils to approve this — and, in turn, central government is in control of how these councils are allowed to raise the requisite funds.

An outline of the role can be found here.

How does Mayoral voting work?

It's all change this year. We're moving to a first-past-the-post system. In the Mayoral election, the candidate with the most votes wins. Simple as.

You may recall that in previous elections, you had to express a first and second preference for Mayor. If no candidate won an absolute majority (i.e. more than 50%) of first choice votes, all but the top two candidates were eliminated, and votes for eliminated candidates were redistributed according to the voters' second choice candidates. But this time it's first-past-the-post.

How does the London Assembly vote work?

You'll vote for your Assembly members at the same time as casting a Mayoral vote. Here, you get to vote twice:

1) Vote for a constituency member. London is divided into 14 constituencies, which are typically pairings of neighbouring boroughs, like Greenwich and Lewisham, or Croydon and Sutton. A number of candidates will stand in each constituency, and you select the one you'd most like to represent you. Again, first-past-the-post wins.

2) You also get a say in who gets to be London-wide Assembly Members. Here, however, you vote for a party rather than an individual. Once votes are counted, 11 London-wide Assembly Members are appointed based on party share of vote, with individuals drawn from pre-published lists.

Who can vote?

If you're over 18, registered to vote and live within one of London's 33 local authorities, then you're good. The ballot box beckons for all registered electors who meet those criteria, be they British, Irish, Commonwealth or European Union citizens. Find out more about registering here.

Will I need ID to vote?

Yes, voter ID will be required, along similar lines to other recent elections.

Who's the favourite to win?

With the election fast approaching, incumbent Khan retains a convincing poll lead over his nearest rival Susan Hall. A poll in early April has him 24 points ahead, stats that have hardly changed since the race for City Hall began. It appears that Khan has ridden through any ULEZ backlash relatively unscathed.

That said, polls can be misleading. This election sees the introduction of voter ID, and the adoption of the first-past-the-post system, both of which add uncertainty to the result.

When will we know the result

Barring any mishaps, the votes should be counted and results announced on 3 May 2024, the day after the election.

Last Updated 15 April 2024