What is the London Assembly? Elections to take place in May

Sadiq Khan is losing some ground to his Tory challenger, Susan Hall, in the mayoral race but polls still put him way ahead (ES)
Sadiq Khan is losing some ground to his Tory challenger, Susan Hall, in the mayoral race but polls still put him way ahead (ES)

A diverse and multicultural city of nine million people needs good oversight and that’s where the London Assembly comes into play.

Londoners will be able to pick the candidates that they want to create a better London in the upcoming mayoral election.

But what exactly is the London Assembly and who will be running to become the mayor?

What is the London Assembly?

Members of the London Assembly are responsible for various aspects of the city. They hold public meetings and question the mayor 10 times a year at Mayor's Question Time. It is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, whom the public elect at the same time as the mayor.

Public access to Assembly meetings allows Londoners to be updated on the mayor's actions and allows the Assembly to publicly assess the mayor's performance.

Assembly members function as advocates for Londoners by looking into matters that are significant to the city, such as how to address youth alcohol abuse and how to improve the economy. They also review the mayor's actions and choices.

Cross-party committees overseeing important areas such as transportation, law enforcement, housing and planning, the economy, health and the environment conduct assembly investigations. In addition, the Assembly may advocate for modifications to legislation.

London mayoral election

The next London mayor will be chosen on May 2, 2024 at the mayoral election. It will coincide with the London Assembly elections, a few London local council by-elections, and regular local elections in England and Wales.

The Labour candidate, Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London since 2016, is running for re-election.

The Green Party has nominated Hackney borough councillor Zoë Garbett, the Liberal Democrats have nominated Rob Blackie, Reform UK has nominated Howard Cox, and the Conservative Party has put forth former London Assembly Conservative leader Susan Hall as its candidate. There are eight further contenders.

There is no term restriction for mayors, who are normally elected to office for four years.

In the London local elections of 2022, Labour defeated the Conservatives to take control of the councils in Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster; however, it lost control of Croydon to no overall control, Harrow to the Conservatives, and Tower Hamlets to a local political party called Aspire.

In Greater London, Labour gained 28 seats, or a net gain of 1,156, while the Conservatives lost 104 seats and gained 404. Both the Greens and the Liberal Democrats won seats, gaining 18 and 180 respectively.

Mr Khan put a freeze on the cost of London Tube fares from 2016 to 2020 and gave the Metropolitan Police a violence control unit.

In August 2023 he announced a £135 million initiative to feed all London primary school students who aren't eligible for free school lunches through the UK government.

What are the polls saying?

Ms Hall is gaining ground on Sadiq Khan as the mayoral contest heats up because of significant changes in vote intentions in inner and outer London.According to a YouGov study, the Tory candidate's support is 27 per cent, up three points from February, while her Labour opponent's support is 46 per cent, down three points.

Mr Khan’s 19-point lead is down from a 25-point gap in February.Howard Cox of Reform UK is at six per cent, Liberal Democrat Rob Blackie is at eight per cent, and Green Party candidate Zoë Garbett is at nine per cent.