Lib Dems support Leader & Cabinet model in Tower Hamlets mayoral referendum

On Thursday 6th May there is a referendum on how Tower Hamlets Council is run.

We recommend that you choose the second option and vote for the Leader model.

The Liberal Democrats are supporting the cross-party campaign to return to a Leader and Cabinet system of local government

  • At present Tower Hamlets has a directly elected Mayor.
  • We think that a cabinet accountable to the full council is more democratic than a mayor who only has to face the voters once every four years.
  • The elected Mayor holds all the power and can act against the advice of elected councillors. And, as a single person, the Mayor can only represent one opinion, whereas the council can and should represent a wider range of views from across the borough.
  • A Leader acts with a cabinet and can better represent our diverse community.
  • Local residents can put questions direct to the council, which they cannot do to the Mayor. There are better checks and balances, and greater transparency on spending.

There is a third option for local councils – the committee model – which we called for because we think it would be even better, but the council can only put one alternative system to a referendum. Cllr Rabina Khan supported Cllr Andrew Woods Committee System Motion but this was overturned by Labour’s preference for the Leader and Cabinet option.

In spite of this, we think that the Leader and Cabinet would still be better than the Mayor model. Referenda on an alternative to the mayoral system can only be held every 10 years. So, it is really important to seize this opportunity for change.

The Mayor model facilitated Lutfur Rahman’s rise to power in Tower Hamlets. Rahman was found guilty of corruption by an election court and was removed from office. He is campaigning to retain the mayoralty. After the scandals of the past years under the previous mayor, we believe Tower Hamlets needs a change for the better.

The ballot paper asks the question ‘How would you like Tower Hamlets Borough Council to be run?’.

Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats have joined with other mainstream parties in Tower Hamlets including Labour, Conservatives and the Greens to support the abolition of the Mayoral System to be replaced with a more collective representative system.

(PS If the Borough decides to retain the Mayoral model, of course the Lib Dems will be campaigning for our candidate to win!)

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