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London will be choosing a mayor for the city on Thursday as well as an Assembly. Running for the coveted City Hall seat is current Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, Tory frontrunner Shaun Bailey and 18 other candidates. The Mayor of London is elected using the Supplementary Vote System (SVS), which means you make a first and second choice when you vote. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the first choice votes, all except the top two runners are eliminated. If your first choice is eliminated and your second choice is for one of the top two, your second choice will be the one counted.
The Mayor of London makes decisions on behalf of the people of London, and also works as the city’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
The 25 members of the London Assembly hold the mayor to account and ensure his decisions are in the interest of the city and its residents.
London Assembly members are elected using the Additional Member system, meaning you vote once for your constituency member and once for a city-wide representative.
In total, there are 14 constituency members and 11 London wide members that make up the Assembly.
What powers does the Mayor of London hold?
The Mayor of London has certain defined powers across areas including transport, housing, economic development, planning, environment, policing and fire and rescue.
Their job is to also set the yearly budget for the Greater London Authority (GLA), subject to approval by the London Assembly.
One of the main jobs of the mayor is to oversee the Transport for London (TfL) infrastructure by setting its overall strategy.
They also have the power to decide fare prices for the tube, buses and other transport service in the city, while the mayor holds powers over road usage too, including controlling congestion charges and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
In the job, the mayor is responsible for setting the strategic direction and priorities for the Metropolitan Police as the city doesn’t have its own Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
Operational decisions remain the jurisdiction of the Met Commissioner, currently Dame Cressida Dick, who is appointed by the Home Secretary following a consultation with the mayor.
The mayor also sets the Met’s Budget in consultation with the commissioner.
Similar responsibilities are held over London’s Fire Brigade (LFB), setting its budget and approving the London Safety Plan, while the mayor also holds the power to appoint the fire commissioner.
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What powers does the London Assembly hold?
As previously mentioned, their main job is to hold the mayor to account by scrutinising policies and programmes as well as their advisors and bodies which are under mayoral control.
This is done through committees that conduct investigations and publish reports.
The mayor is required to attend Mayor’s Question Time, held in front of the Assembly, on a basis of 10 times a year.
The Assembly has the power to amend or vote don the mayor’s annual budget and mayoral strategies, but to do this it needs to be backed by a two-thirds majority, and as of March 2021, the group has never formally amended a budget.
What time do the polls open and close tomorrow?
Polling stations in London, as with the rest of the UK, will be open all day on Thursday from 7am until 10pm.
But as long as you’re in the queue before 10pm, you’ll be allowed to cast your vote.
Polling stations will likely be busiest in the morning as parents drop their children to school and workers head in, so it’s worth bearing in mind when planning your vote.
You must vote at your designated polling station, so make sure to check your polling card before heading out.
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