Mayors in the United Kingdom

From Academic Kids

In the United Kingdom, the office of Mayor or Lord Mayor had long been a ceremonial post, with little or no duties attached to it. The most famous example is that of the Lord Mayor of London.

Traditionally towns, boroughs and cities have had the right to elect a mayor. In cases where a borough or a city is a local government district, the mayor is a councillor. In cases where a town or a city is a civil parish, the mayor is elected from their number by the parish council. Where the mayoralty used to be associated with a local government district but that district has been abolished, Charter Trustees may be set up to provide continuity until a parish council may be set up.


Lord Mayors

The right to appoint a Lord Mayor (or in Scotland, a Lord Provost) is a rare honour, even less frequently bestowed than city status. A Lord Provost also acts as Lord-Lieutenant of their city.

Currently, 28 cities have Lord Mayors or Lord Provosts

In England: Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Canterbury, Chester, Coventry, Exeter, Kingston-upon-Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, the City of London, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent, the City of Westminster and York.

In Scotland: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow.

In Wales: Cardiff, and Swansea.

In Northern Ireland: Belfast.

Directly-elected mayors

In 2000 the Labour government led by Tony Blair passed a local government reform which changed this somewhat. Several districts and counties in the UK now have directly-elected mayors with real powers and a cabinet to assist them, as opposed to the previous committee-based system, where functions were exercised by committees of the council. The changes were encouraged by the central government but required local request by petition and ratification by referendum.

In addition to this they introduced the Greater London Authority with a directly-elected Mayor of London to head it. The election for this post was won by Ken Livingstone, former leader of the Greater London Council, who was expelled from the Labour Party for standing in this election against official candidate Frank Dobson.

There are currently no elected mayors in any cities whose mayor has the right to bear the title Lord Mayor (the title Lord Mayor of London refers only to the City of London within the greater city), but if this were to arise, it may be the elected mayor would inherit that title.

After an initial burst of interest, eleven districts now have directly-elected mayors. Many of the mayoral elections were won by independents, notably in Hartlepool where the election was won by a man in a monkey suit on a campaign of free bananas for schools, Stuart Drummond; and in Middlesbrough, where it was won by sacked police officer Ray Mallon. This high number of independent victories may be a reason why the issue of directly-elected mayors has vanished from political debate : it is portrayed by opponents of the ruling Labour party as a great embarrassment for them.

List of directly-elected mayors

Bedford Frank Branston independent
Doncaster Martin Winter Labour
Greater London Ken Livingstone Labour, once elected as independent
Hackney Jules Pipe Labour
Hartlepool Stuart Drummond independent
Lewisham Steve Bullock Labour
Mansfield Tony Egginton independent
Middlesbrough Ray Mallon independent
Newham Robin Wales Labour
North Tyneside Linda Arkley Conservative
Stoke-on-Trent Mike Wolfe independent
Watford Dorothy Thornhill Liberal Democrats


The Lord Mayors of London, Cardiff, Belfast, York and Bristol and the Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow are styled The Right Honourable. All other Lord Mayors, as well as the Mayors of cities and the original Cinque Ports (Sandwich, Hythe, Dover, Romney and Hastings), are styled The Right Worshipful. All other Mayors are styled The Worshipful. These honorific styles are used only before the Mayoral title and not before the name, and are not retained after the term of office.

See also

External link

  • BBC article (

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