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What the London Mayoral Election Means for the Rest of the UK

Author: James Rudd Published: 3rd May 2021 15:07

 

 

Although the election for Mayor of London may seem irrelevant to anyone not living in the nation's capital, the outcome of the voting can have effects that are felt all across England and can even reach the whole of the UK.

What is the role of Mayor of London?

Whilst the role of London Mayor focuses on Greater London and improving it for all who live there, the position is well-respected in wider politics and is usually held by someone with experience in public service. Since its creation in 2000, three people have served under the title: Ken Livingstone (2000-2008), Boris Johnson (2008-2016), and Sadiq Khan, who is coming to the end of his first term after having served for four years. If we look at London Mayoral Election 2021 odds then it seems that Khan is destined to follow his predecessors and win a second term, but there is definitely competition from the Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey.

Candidates are often key players in UK politics

To mention his political party explains in part why the outcome of the election is important to the whole of the UK. Because the Mayor is affiliated with a certain political party, whoever wins can bring favour to their party for the next general election. Boris Johnson was pushed into the political spotlight after his time as Mayor, making the move from journalism to public service. This was used in his campaign to become the leader of the Conservative party - it was attractive to many that he was already a recognisable public figure who had experience as well as book-learning. As many voters make their decision based on the leader of a party rather than the party itself, having a strong leader is incredibly important and can swing a vote. So, whoever wins the Mayoral election earns a political prestige that can definitely lead to bigger changes down the line.

London receives a lot of UK funding

The Mayor of London also sets the budget for Greater London and commits to improving infrastructure like transport, housing, and business. This is important as London is responsible for nearly £500 billion of the UK's GDP - around 22% - so if London's business economy is thriving, it has positive knock-on effects for the rest of the UK. Sadiq Khan, a Labour candidate, often cites London as the UK's 'economic powerhouse' and celebrates the way that London taxes fuel public services all across the UK, as well as improving the city itself.

The Mayor is also a representative of the UK during foreign visits and is in charge of championing London across the world. This is crucial for the entire country because if good relations are built and maintained then opportunities for collaboration and international investment come much more easily. Across the world, 'London' can be seen as synonymous with 'the UK', so the person that is chosen to represent London is also an ambassador for the country as a whole, embodying the values of everyone. 

Although county councils are elected throughout England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland in order to create equality and improve individual areas, the race for London Mayor is one that can affect the course of national politics as well as the UK's standing across the global community.

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