A First-Time Buyers’ guide to the London elections

Tomorrow London goes to the polls to elect a new Mayor of London. The Mayor is responsible for making London a great place to live, work and visit. For example the Mayor is responsible for things such as policing, transport and the fire service. But significantly for first time buyers, the Mayor has important housing powers. The Mayor must produce a housing strategy to invest in London’s housing and to meet the needs of London’s growing population.

This year, twelve candidates are vying to run London for the next four years. As well as voting for the Mayor, voters in London will decide who should sit in the 25 member London Assembly which scrutinises what the Mayor does.

Voting is slightly different from other elections such as the General Election where we elect MPs to decide the laws in Parliament or the local elections that decide the councillors who run our council services. To elect the Mayor we get to give our first and second choice. This system was introduced so that the winning candidate has the support of most people who expressed their choice between the top two candidates. In the London Assembly, 14 Assembly Members represent local areas of London, the rest represent the whole city. This system means voters have four votes tomorrow. Here’s a breakdown of them:

  1. Vote 1 on PINK ballot paper: This is for your first choice for the London Mayor. You place an [X] in ‘Column A’ next to the candidate you most want to be the mayor. The two candidates with the most first choice votes will go through to the final stage of voting where people’s second choices will decide the winner.
  2. Vote 2 on PINK ballot paper: This is for your second choice for the London Mayor. You place an [X] in ‘Column B’ next to the candidate you would want to be Mayor if your first choice doesn’t win. Your second choice must be different from your first choice and your vote won’t be counted if you only vote in this column.
  3. Vote 3 on the YELLOW ballot paper: This is to decide who should represent your local area in the London Assembly. You should vote for one candidate by putting an [X] in the column next to their name.
  4. Vote 4 on the ORANGE ballot paper: this is to choose who you want to represent the whole of London on the London Assembly. You put an [X] in the column next to one party.

This is the first mayoral election (there have been four since 2000) where housing has been one of the top issues for the candidates. It’s a great opportunity for London’s city makers to have their voice heard by the next Mayor.

Most of the candidates agree that we need more housing and that we should build about 50,000 new homes a year. With the cost of buying and renting so high there’s a lot of agreement about ensuring a significant proportion of these are affordable and offered first to Londoners.

Find out more about the main candidates and what they are proposing:

Sadiq Khan (Labour) Sadiq’s website

Zac Goldsmith (Conservatives) Zac’s website

Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrat)Caroline’s website

Sian Berry (Green Party)Sian’s website

The full list of candidates for Mayor of London and their mini-manifestos are available here.

You can vote at the polling station stated on your polling card (although you don’t need to take the card with you) between 7am and 10pm.

London Elects has more information about the elections, candidates, where and how to vote.

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