Smaller parties eye London Assembly success in City Hall elections

The Green, Liberal Democrat and Reform UK parties all believe they can gain more London Assembly members in Thursday’s poll, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

From left, the Green, Lib Dem and Reform candidates for mayor (all credit Noah Vickerts/LDRS)
From left, the Green, Lib Dem and Reform UK candidates for mayor (all credit Noah Vickerts/LDRS)

On the eve of Thursday’s mayoral election, London’s smaller political parties have declared they are on course to boost their numbers at City Hall.

With polls suggesting they have little prospect of winning the mayoralty, parties like the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Reform UK will all hope to at least make gains on the London Assembly.

The assembly is a cross-party body which exists to hold the mayor to account by scrutinising their policies and actions.

While the Lib Dems believe they are on track to secure their best assembly result “in 20 years”, the Green Party is targeting a record number of seats, and Reform plans to win representation at City Hall for the first time.

The assembly currently comprises eleven Labour members, nine Conservatives, three Greens and two Lib Dems. All 25 seats will be up for re-election on Thursday, alongside the race for the mayoralty.

Fourteen of the seats are borough-based constituencies elected through first-past-the-post, but the remaining eleven are ‘London-wide’ seats elected through proportional representation – meaning that all votes on the latter ballot count in terms of winning seats.

The constituency seats have always elected Labour or Conservatives – but the Lib Dems have said they are “optimistic” about winning their first-ever constituency, in South West London – a seat comprising Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond boroughs.

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The seat elected Tory member Nick Rogers in 2021, though he won with less than a third of the vote (32%). The Lib Dems were second with 28%.

Although Labour were close behind on 26%, the Lib Dems have the benefit of already running both Richmond and Kingston councils, with Labour only in charge of Hounslow.

Lib Dem mayoral candidate Rob Blackie said his party is “running a really strong campaign and I’m confident that we are on the verge of an historic breakthrough in London – with our very first constituency win and our best overall result in decades”.

The Greens – who have beaten the Lib Dems in the last three mayoral elections – hope to win a record number of assembly members by winning four or more seats on the proportional ‘London-wide’ list.

A party spokesperson said: “Last time the Greens were incredibly close to electing four assembly members. Just a few percent more would make the difference.

“So many Londoners have told us they see the massive difference elected Greens have made for our city and the coverage from Zoë’s mayoral campaign has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Reform UK, formerly known as the Brexit Party, hopes to win representation on the assembly for the first time. The party’s mayoral candidate Howard Cox said: “The polls show that Reform is due to make a major breakthrough in the London Assembly.

“We’re polling neck-and-neck with the Greens and the Lib Dems. Despite facing minimal coverage from the London press and being excluded from all major hustings, Reform UK’s message resonates deeply with Londoners.

“This is just the beginning of a seismic upheaval in the political landscape.”

All polls this year have suggested Reform is behind the Greens and Lib Dems, though the gap is often within the margin of error.

The Green, Lib Dem and Reform mayoral candidates are all also running for assembly seats.

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