Mayor of Newham gives up most of her executive powers
- Credit: Rokhsana Fiaz
The mayor of Newham has surrendered the majority of her executive powers less than six months into the job.
Last night Rokhsana Fiaz, London’s first elected female mayor, agreed to delegate executive decision making to her cabinet.
Traditionally elected mayors hold more power than traditional council leaders because they can approve major plans alone and can overrule collective councillors.
But at Ms Fiaz’s final mayoral proceedings meeting she ruled that significant decisions will from now on be made with a majority vote of the mayor and cabinet, with the mayor holding a second and casting vote as chair.
Ms Fiaz said: “This represents the most fundamental change to the elected mayoral model since its introduction [in Newham] way back in 2002.
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“This scheme of delegation essentially moves all the decision making that is held by one person, me, to the entire cabinet, which includes six members. It is all part of the process of bringing good governance, better decision making and transparency to the way in which we do business.”
Ms Fiaz came to power in May after ousting Sir Robin Wales in a fierce selection battle.
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Sir Robin was Britain’s longest serving elected mayor.
The former charity and public relations worker was backed by Momentum and given support by its founder Jon Lansman during the contest.
She won a landslide victory at the local elections, which saw her take 53,214 votes and Labour secure all 60 council seats.
Councillor and Newham cabinet member John Gray said: “It is not often that politicians give up power.
“Effectively the mayor is still the mayor but she has delegated power to make decisions to the whole cabinet.
“We have collective cabinet responsibility, which I think is something we all welcome.”