Mayor gives up powers and agrees to change way Tower Hamlets is governed

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs surrendered many of his executive powers. Picture: LDRS

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs surrendered many of his executive powers. Picture: LDRS - Credit: Archant

The directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets last night surrendered many of his executive powers after petitions to change the way the borough is governed were set up.

John Biggs told the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, October 28 he will make decisions collectively with senior councillors, rather than taking actions alone.

Tower Hamlets is one of four London boroughs to elect a mayor, who have more power than traditional council leaders because they can approve major plans alone.

Mr Biggs’s announcement comes after two petitions were set up to scrap the mayor system, reported earlier in the East London Advertiser, and the news neighbouring Newham Council will hold a referendum on swapping from the elected mayor to the committees system in May next year.

READ MORE: Petitions launched to scrap mayor system

Mr Biggs said: “We now have collective decision making in the cabinet. In cabinet meetings we will be making collective decisions rather than me listening to my cabinet members and heeding advise and making an individual decision as executive mayor.

“It will mean members will be making collective decisions rather than advising me.”

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Lutfur Rahman became Tower Hamlets’ first elected mayor in 2010. He was removed from office in 2015 for corrupt and illegal practices during the 2014 mayoral race.

He was replaced by Labour’s Mr Biggs. The Localism Act 2011 permits a referendum to be held to change the system of governance in a local authority if five percent of the electorate petition the council.

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