Advertisement
UK markets open in 2 hours 13 minutes
  • NIKKEI 225

    38,104.89
    -451.98 (-1.17%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    18,252.32
    -224.69 (-1.22%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    79.16
    -0.07 (-0.09%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    2,333.30
    -7.90 (-0.34%)
     
  • DOW

    38,441.54
    -411.32 (-1.06%)
     
  • Bitcoin GBP

    53,689.26
    -544.31 (-1.00%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,464.12
    -20.57 (-1.39%)
     
  • NASDAQ Composite

    16,920.58
    -99.30 (-0.58%)
     
  • UK FTSE All Share

    4,465.63
    -41.16 (-0.91%)
     

Whoever wins the election, the London Mayor needs real power

Sadiq Khan and Susan Hall, have largely run campaigns centred around not being the other one.
Sadiq Khan and Susan Hall, have largely run campaigns centred around not being the other one.

In the annals of political history, so often the moments of high drama are on the campaign trail. Books have been written about the debates between Lincoln and Douglas in 1860; Thatcher’s first election victory covered at length on stage and screen.

There is even a book being written about consequential by-elections. There are unlikely, however, to be tomes penned about the 2024 London mayoral election.

The two main candidates, Sadiq Khan and Susan Hall, have largely run election campaigns centred around not being the other one. For both, this is probably sensible electioneering, but it doesn’t exactly inspire.

ADVERTISEMENT

Policies span from the bland (more coppers!) to the familiar (more houses!) but there is a lack of genuine radicalism to both.

Where there are signs of original thinking, London politicos have largely dismissed them as impossible without Whitehall largesse or further devolution.

The election campaign has more than a week to run and many will still be making up their mind. But in our mind, at least the only conclusion we are able to reach at this stage is that the Mayoralty desperately needs more power – real power.

That means control over tax and spend, a real ability to move the dial of accountability upwards. Too many Londoners feel the Mayor, whoever it is, isn’t in a position to change the things that matter. The only way to change that is to supercharge the office, and that may give more heft to future campaigns.

This isn’t impossible. If the most likely scenario holds – a Labour victory in City Hall and in Downing Street – then devolution may surely be on the cards.

Keir Starmer would be the first genuinely Lahndahn PM in some time. But personalities and relationships aside, with the Mayoralty now more than two decades old, it’s time to give the job more muscle.