Newham Council votes to hold referendum: mayoral or committee system

Newham councillors meeting online on the 21st October 2020

At last night’s council meeting, Newham Councillors voted overwhelmingly to hold the referendum on local governance on the 6th May 2021.

The question on the ballot paper will be whether Newham should keep the current system of democratically elected Mayor, or change to a system run by committee.

42 councillors voted for the recommendation, with one councillor voting against and one abstention.

Newham Voting for Change is delighted that Newham residents will now have a clear choice between a council run by an Mayor and executive, and a more participatory, inclusive and open system in which every councillor plays a role. We’re looking forward to campaigning for the committee system in the referendum, and having the chance to make the arguments about how Newham council should make decisions and agree policy.

If you’re interested in joining the campaign, sign up for email updates on our contact page or follow our Twitter of Facebook feeds. In the next few weeks we’ll be launching the campaign with a public online meeting talking to other campaigners across the country who have campaigned for changes to their local governance arrangements, so watch this space for details!

Update: a link to the story in the Newham recorder is here.

Mayor of Newham suggests referendum will be 6th May 2021

In 2018 the Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, promised a referendum on how the borough should be run. After sixteen years during which Robin Wales had held the position of Mayor practically unchallenged, many voters had questions about whether the Mayoral model was best for Newham, or whether a different way of working would be better for the borough.

Now the Mayor has  confirmed to London politics blog On London that the referendum on local governance will go ahead – and has put forward a possible date for it to be held.

According to On London:

The decision about the choice put to electors and the referendum date will be made by the full council, not the Mayor. But Fiaz, who was elected Mayor on 4 May 2018, said she will argue for holding it on 6 May, partly because it would enable her to honour her manifesto pledge that a referendum would be held “before the end of my third year as Mayor”.

The 6th May 2021 is the same date as the London Mayor and the Greater London Assembly elections. Watch this space as we wait for the date to be formally confirmed, and to find out what the question will be on the ballot paper…