This briefing paper summarises the role and powers of the Mayor of London, including the changes introduced by the Greater London Authority Act 2007. It also describes the role and powers of the London Assembly. It provides explanations of the electoral system and the system of government within the Greater London Authority, including the functioning of transport, planning, police and crime, fire and rescue, and housing policy within the Greater London Authority.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) is the democratically elected strategic authority for London. It comprises two distinct parts, the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. It was established in 2000, following a London-wide referendum to approve proposals for an elected London-wide body.
The Mayor is currently elected using the supplementary vote system, where voters have a first and second choice. If no candidate achieves 50% of first choices then all but the top two candidates are eliminated and second choices are taken into account. The Mayor has responsibilities in the areas of transport, policing, fire and rescue, economic development, housing, planning and skills.
The London Assembly has 25 members, elected using the Additional Member system. There are 14 Assembly constituencies, which are made up by combining two or three London boroughs, and the remaining 11 Assembly members are elected from a London-wide ‘top-up’ list. The Assembly scrutinises the work of the Mayor via committees and plenary sessions.
Both the Mayor and Assembly members are elected every four years. The next scheduled elections are in May 2024. The 2020 elections were postponed to May 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The current terms of office for the Mayor and Assembly Members were reduced to three years accordingly.
This briefing describes the functioning of transport, planning, police and crime, fire and rescue, and housing policy within the Greater London Authority. It provides details of, and links to, major policy initiatives under the current Mayor, Sadiq Khan. It also sets out recent debates over extending the powers of the Mayor of London, and of the financial powers available to the Mayor.