The Government has responded to the petition we encouraged people to sign (which read “Hold a referendum on removing the London Assembly and London Mayor”). It received over 45,000 signatures.
The Government response was:
“The Government believes that directly elected mayors provide strong and accountable governance locally; devolved transport policies are best determined through local democracy and elections.
The Government believes that with the right incentives and strong accountability directly elected mayors can provide valuable local leadership. This leads to more joined-up public services and better outcomes for local communities. A directly elected mayor is the strongest, most transparent and most accountable form of local government leadership.
As the Housing Minister made clear in the House of Commons on 20 February 2023, effective devolution requires local leaders and institutions that are transparent and accountable. This is why the Government will be publishing a devolution accountability framework later this year setting out accountability mechanisms for mayoral authorities such as the GLA. It will set out how they are scrutinised and held to account by the UK Government, local politicians and business leaders – and above all by the residents and voters of their area.
This work will be supported by planned improvements to the broader local government accountability framework including the establishment of the Office for Local Government.
The Greater London Authority, office of the Mayor of London and London Assembly were established following a referendum held in Greater London on 7 May 1998 in which 72% of those voting expressed their support for proposals. The Government has no current plans to review the core provisions of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (as amended).
The expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone across London is a devolved matter and the primary responsibility of the Mayor of London and Transport for London.
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities”
Comment: a not unexpected if disappointing response. It ignores the fact that the Mayor of London is unaccountable to anyone and has ignored widespread complaints about his actions on expanding the ULEZ and on many other issues. Londoners will not get the opportunity to remove him until the elections next year and he is already bribing the electorate with our own money to try and win re-election (free school meals for children is the latest hand-out).
Directly elected Mayors only provide a sound basis for local government if those elected adhere to sound moral principles and listen to the public. What we have in London is someone who has let power go to his head and now acts like a dictator. He is using every political trick in the book to denigrate his opponents to remain in power, including repeated lies.
This should not be allowed to continue and Government ministers should have more backbone.
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