Petition aimed at forcing referendum on how Newham is governed deemed invalid
PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 September 2020
© David Copeman Photography 2010
A petition aimed at forcing a public vote on how Newham is governed has been deemed invalid.
The town hall responded to the list, reportedly containing 12,422 signatures of people calling for a referendum on whether or not to scrap the current directly elected mayor model, on Monday, September 28.
A council spokesperson said: “Newham Council received a petition on September 18 calling for a referendum on a change to the system of governance for the borough.
“On receipt of a petition, the chief executive is required to determine whether the petition is valid or not.
“Regulations made under the Coronavirus Act 2020 state that a petition received between March 16, 2020, and May 5, 2021, must be held to be invalid. It can be reconsidered on or after May 6.”
The petition was organised by the campaign group People’s Petition last October in response to a unanimous vote by councillors to move the date of a referendum promised by Newham’s mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz, from the same day as the London mayoral vote.
In response, a People’s Petition campaigner, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “This is very undemocratic. People have a voice. You cannot deny twelve and a half thousand people. How could this be possible?
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“People are very, very upset.”
He added that the group would seek legal advice if it were not for the expense.
“We are only working class people. It is very sad that we can’t fight this at the moment,” he said.
The campaigner added: “If the worst comes to the worst we have a right to protest and will perhaps contact [local government secretary] Robert Jenrick.”
READ MORE: ‘People’s petition’ launched in bid to force referendum on directly elected mayor next year
People’s Petition wanted the alternative leader and cabinet model of governance on a referendum ballot because it would allow for a no confidence vote to remove whoever was at the helm.
Campaigners say the current directly elected mayor model puts too much hands in the power of one person.
Mayor Fiaz pledged in her 2018 election manifesto to hold a referendum. She told the Recorder in August that she remained fully committed to holding a ballot on Newham’s future governance.
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