Tomorrow at 6PM, Saturday 13th March a vigil has been planned for Clapham Common, following Sarah Everard’s disappearance last week between Balham and Streatham. This vigil is being organised by Reclaim These Streets, a group of women angry that streets are not safe places for women. This kind of vigil or protest has long been organised by women after such horrific events. Many people across Lambeth and London have said they will attend and it could well be one of the larger public events in the last year in Lambeth. This raises the issue of public gatherings during the Pandemic and the risks that might arise. The organisers believe the vigil can be held safely but now the Metropolitan Police have indicated they do not believe the protest should take place. This is unacceptable.
The right to protest is important. The right to be safe from assault at all times is important. Public health is important. We must find a way to balance the former with the latter. We accept the organiser’s view that this vigil can be held in a socially distanced manner and that the attendees of the vigil will respect public health guidance. The police seem to disagree. But this is not the end of it, there is now a threat of serious financial and criminal sanctions against the organisers and attendees if the vigil takes place tomorrow.
Let us be clear, the police’s view is not accepted to be correct by a wide range of legal academics and public/human rights lawyers. A coalition of organisers and lawyers decided yesterday, Thursday, to bring an urgent case to the courts to rule on the issue. Our MP for Caithness, Jaime Stone has been working on getting an assurance from the Home Secretary that she will not support prosecutions against the organisers or attendees of the vigil. Other MPs from across the political spectrum have also supported the vigil. This is too important for party politics or tough on crime rhetoric. People must have the right to peacefully protest in a responsible fashion without being threatened with personal sanction by the police. If it turns out that the law does not allow for that, then the law needs to be changed.
Next year will be Lambeth Borough elections and we are now taking expressions of interest to stand as a Liberal Democrat candidate. If you are a member and have not already received an email about this, you can find out how to apply here. You must be a member of the party to apply.
We will also be hosting Caroline Pidgeon AM to give us an update about the GLA elections on March 18th and Alex Davies to then speak to members interested in running. Please email for further details about attending.
London 2021 Elections for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly: three ballots, three electoral systems
The Mayor of London and London Assembly represent all Londoners.
They work with London’s councils, central government and other organisations on different aspects of London life, such as transport, policing, economic development, and fire and emergency planning. Three functional bodies—Transport for London, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, and the London Fire Commissioner—are responsible for delivery of services in these areas.
The Mayor of London sets a vision for the city, and the budget to put that vision into action.
The London Assembly is a watchdog for London and holds the Mayor and his advisers to public account. The Mayor must consult the Assembly before producing his strategies and budget, including City Hall’s share of council tax. The London Assembly also investigates issues that are important to London.
There are 25 Assembly Members in total. 14 represent constituencies, and 11 represent all of London.
Elections for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly take place every four years. The Mayor and the London Assembly constitutes the Greater London Authority, also known as City Hall.
On 6 May 2021, you vote for:
- the Mayor of London
- your constituency London Assembly Member
- the London-wide Assembly Members
Mayor of London election
The Mayor of London election uses the Supplementary Vote system (SV).
The ballot paper for the Mayor of London election is pink. It will list the candidates for mayor, with two columns for marking your first choice and second choice.
In the first column, you mark a cross next to the candidate who is your first choice. For your vote to be counted, you need to cast a first choice vote.
In the second column, you can mark a cross next to the candidate who is your second choice. You don’t have to mark a second choice.
If no candidate gets more than 50% of the first choice votes, all except the top 2 candidates are eliminated. If your first choice candidate is eliminated, and your second choice is for one of the top 2, your second choice is counted.
With this system, there is no lost vote. You can vote Lib Dem Luisa Porritt as your first choice and then your 'back up' second choice for maximum impact.
Constituency London Assembly Member
The Constituency London Assembly Member election uses first-past-the-post voting.
The ballot paper for the Constituency London Assembly Member election is yellow. It will list the candidates for your London Assembly constituency (this is different to your parliamentary constituency). Our London Assembly Constituency is called Lambeth and Southwark. The Lib Dem candidate is Florence Cyrot. You can only vote for one candidate, by putting a cross [X] in the box next to your choice.
London-wide Assembly Member
The London Assembly election uses the additional member system which is a form of proportional representation.
The ballot paper for the London-wide Assembly Member is orange. It will list the parties that have candidates.
You can only vote once, by putting a cross [X] in the box next to your choice.
The Lib Dem list is:
Irina von Wiese
(Sources Electoral Commission, Mayor of London London Assembly)
Late last year we submitted proposals to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England's 20 year review of Lambeth Borough's ward boundaries and posted about it here. LGBCE has now issued its draft recommendations for Lambeth (click here for their summary), which may be the most radical shake-up of the boundaries since the 1970s. This is good news for the borough, as there has been both strong population growth and the current 22 wards are quite big and unwieldy, not serving Lambeth's many communities.
We are especially pleased because the recommendations largely adopt the Lambeth Liberal Democrat proposal for number of wards - 26, new ward boundaries and some new ward names.
We reviewed the guidance and the terms of reference and saw an opportunity to both tweak some existing wards and build new wards around real, smaller communities. Like much of London, Lambeth is a place of many villages, whether they be based around town centres, parks, schools, estates or main roads. Knock on a door in an estate or down a street and tell them their community is their ward and they'll tell you you are wrong, it's their estate, their street, their neighbours. Just look at the WhatsApp Community Support Groups created during the Pandemic.
We also suggested new names for the new wards, like Brixton Windrush, based around Windrush Square, or the two new wards replacing Tulse Hill, Rush Common and St Martins. Or Clapham Park, Clapham Abbeville or Kennington. This is not an exercise in renaming existing places, these are new names for new wards based on actual communities, for once.
So let's take this opportunity to fix the Council's boundaries and make them fit Lambeth for once, not the otherway around like the status quo.