#LondonMayor2016: Who is standing up for democracy

Unlocking democracy in the Mayor of London elections

Democracy in London is broken - from how we elect councillors and MPs, to how we hold the Mayor to account. Unlock Democracy London with the help of supporters are asking the candidates if they will stand up for democracy in London by answering these questions: Would you support a campaign for proportional voting for council and/or Westminster elections? What will you do to improve how the Mayor is held to account?

The Candidates' Responses

Sadiq is a long standing supporter of electoral reform for many years, having been the Shadow Secretary of State in the last Parliament with responsibility for political and constitutional reform. In 2010, he voted yes in the AV referendum, believing that it was a step in the right direction.

Sadiq believes having a Mayor of London responsible for many of the most important issues facing the city is the right structure. The office of Mayor of London has proven itself in the 16 years since it was created, and has shown to have provided the city with strong leadership. But it is also important to have a London Assembly in place that holds any Mayor to account.

As Mayor, Sadiq is committed to continuing to argue for further devolution to London.
— Labour's Sadiq Khan, responding to Unlock Democracy London supporters 22nd March 2016

Electoral reform is a cause I feel passionately about. I am a local councillor in Camden, the only Green elected under the first-past-the-post system despite winning 15% of the vote across the borough. With a fair system, people in Camden would have nine Green councillors standing up for them, instead of just me! Like you I also witnessed the injustice of last year’s General Election, the most disproportionate in history, and am very happy to support all the great campaigns for electoral reform.

We are very lucky to have a proportional system of elections to the London Assembly, and this has meant a diverse range of views are represented there, with better scrutiny of the Mayor’s policies for the past 16 years.

Our proposals to increase the Assembly’s powers will be published in our manifesto on 4 April, and include pressing for a change from a two-thirds Assembly vote to a simple majority being needed to amend mayoral strategies and the budget, and that the London Assembly should have the legal power, like Parliament, to summon any witnesses who are responsible for policies and services that affect the lives of Londoners to appear before them.

We are also committed to continuing to explore better ways to involve community and business groups in scrutiny and holding the Mayor to account, for example by holding more ‘open mic’ evidence sessions to hear from more diverse people than just one community representative per group, and supporting citizen science projects to monitor air pollution and track the implementation of regeneration projects.
— The Green Party's Siân Berry, responding to Unlock Democracy London supporters 4th April 2016

I strongly support a number of democratic reforms, including lowering the age of voting to 16, and electoral reform for both local elections and Westminster elections.

London suffers from having too many councils which do not reflect voting intentions, as does Westminster.

I am proud of my party’s consistent support for democratic reform over many years, including, securing electoral reform to local elections in Scotland. As Mayor of London I will of course do everything I can to forward this agenda.

I firmly believe the London Assembly needs additional powers including the full power of summons, as Parliamentary Select Committees have, and a lower threshold to amend Mayoral strategies. Our votes on confirmation hearings should be binding as well.
— Liberal Democrat's Caroline Pidgeon, responding to Unlock Democracy supporters 10th April

UKIP’s experience of 3.8 million votes and only one MP elected in the 2015 General Election is clear evidence of why electoral reform is necessary. I along with my party fully support the need for, and immediate introduction of, electoral reform not just at a Westminster Parliamentary elections level but also at a grassroots level for local elections too.

At every level voters have been left with no representation or voice due to the outdated first past the post electoral system.

UKIP are wholeheartedly supporting the PR Alliance, a cross party campaign to pressure government to introduce a voting system fit for the 21st century and not one left over from the politics of centuries past.

Voter apathy and disengagement can only be addressed effectively if voters believe they will have a voice. That time has come.
— UKIP's Peter Whittle, responding to Unlock Democracy supporters 13th April

I have supported proportional representation all my life. I pressed both Blair and Brown to introduce it. They should have.
— Respect's George Galloway, responding to Unlock Democracy via Twitter 19th April

Who hasn't responded

Conservative: Zac Goldsmith

Women’s Equality Party: Sophie Walker

We want to include Britain First (Paul Golding), British National Party (David Furness), Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol (Lee Harris), One Love Party (Ankit Love), and the independent Jan Zylinski. If you have their mayoral campaign email address please email them to london@unlockdemocracy.org.uk.