Take it to the limit

13 May

A small earthquake happened in Newham last night. Five local Labour party branches voted for a motion to impose term-limits on directly elected mayors.

Members in Forest Gate North, Forest Gate South, Stratford, Canning Town and Manor Park (Sir Robin’s own ward!) supported a proposition put forward by the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy to amend the national rule book:

The Labour Party Rule Book 2016 Chapter 5 Selections, rights and responsibilities of candidates for elected public office.Clause I. General rules for selections for public office. Sub-Clause 1. G. i. Alternative Procedures, reads as follows:

‘For any mayoral selection the NEC may consider the use of primary elections, subject to the absolute power of the NEC to cancel or amend procedure, and subject to:

a. Procedural guidelines set by the NEC.’

Amendment

Add new sub-clause:

b. If a selected candidate is elected for two consecutive terms he/she cannot apply for selection as the Labour candidate for the same mayoral post for the following third term.

Directly-elected mayors were introduced in 2000 and, from the first mayoral elections in 2002 until 2008, the Labour Party rules stipulated that Directly-Elected Mayors who were Labour Party members could not stand for re-election after having served two terms. This time limit was removed on the recommendation of the NEC Local Government Committee in 2008 – in good time to allow the likes of Sir Robin and Hackney’s Jules Pipe to be re-selected for a third term.

As we know to our cost in Newham, directly-elected Mayors have presidential-type executive powers. These are not always balanced by adequate scrutiny from councillors – in Newham they are barely subject to any at all. 

Sir Robin has been in charge of our borough since 1995. First as leader of the council and since 2002 as mayor. In the interests of healthy democratic local governance, a single individual should not hold these powers for so long. 

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2 Responses to “Take it to the limit”

  1. KEVIN MANSELL May 16, 2016 at 10:37 #

    The only two `no’ votes at Manor Park branch were Councillors Hudson and Clarke. The former queried why executive mayors were being singled out and the same limits not applied to Councillors and MPs. The latter confined his comments to the news that, if successful, the practical outcome of the resolution would not apply until 2022 at the earliest. No one knew when the next constituency general committee would be held, which means that East Ham will probably not make the deadline for submission of resolutions to this year’s Conference. Newham should be twinned with Pyonyang!

  2. terry ball May 16, 2016 at 17:47 #

    manor park is more suitable for twinning pyongyang ,flat lands or could be wanstead flat lands ,but that is funny kevin

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