Leicester City Council
|The factual accuracy of parts of this article (those related to article) may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (May 2011)|
|Leicester City Council|
|Executive mayor elected every four years
Whole council elected every four years
Unitary authority council of Leicester
|Founded||1 April 1974|
New session started
|29 May 2014 (Municipal year 2014/2015)|
since 29 May 2014
Peter Soulsby, Labour
since 6 May 2011
|Seats||1 executive mayor
Council voting system
Mayor voting system
Leicester City Council is a unitary authority responsible for local government in the city of Leicester, England. It consists of 54 councillors, representing 22 wards in the city, overseen by a directly elected mayor. It is currently controlled by the Labour Party and has been led by Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby since his election on 6 May 2011. The main council building is City Hall on Charles Street, but council meetings are held in the 19th-century Town Hall.
As a unitary authority, the council is responsible for running nearly all local services in Leicester with the exception of the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service and Leicestershire Constabulary which are run by joint boards with Leicestershire County Council and Rutland County Council.
The Council traces its roots to the Corporation of Leicester, and before then to the Merchant Gild and the Portmanmoot. The Portmanmoot consisted of 24 Jurats, elected from the burgesses (members of the Gild Merchant, or freemen), along with two bailiffs, and a clerk. It appears to have existed before the Norman Conquest in 1066. In 1209, the lead member of the Portmanmoot, the Alderman, became known as a mayor. The Gild Merchant and the Moot overlapped in membership and had probably become effectively merged in the 14th century. Membership of the Twenty-Four appears to have been by co-option, chosen by themselves.
Traditionally, the general populace attended some meetings of the Moot and Guild, but this was restricted to burgesses in 1467. Later, in 1489, this changed to a system where the Mayor and the Twenty-Four chose Forty-Eight burgesses to represent the others, and the Twenty-Four and the Forty-Eight would govern jointly.
After doubts as to the ability of the Moot and Gild to hold property arose in the 16th century, the Corporation was formed, replacing the Gild and Portmanmoot, in 1589. A second charter was granted in 1599, reconfirming this, to The Mayor, Bailiffs and Burgesses of the Borough of Leicester. The 24 Jurats became known as the Aldermen of the Corporation, and the 48 other Burgesses as the Common Council. The members of the Corporation chose the burgesses to send to the House of Commons.
The Corporation, as with most English municipal corporations, continued effectively unreformed until the Municipal Reform Act of 1835, although the freemen in general obtained the right to participate in the election of MPs after the Restoration. The Municipal Reform Act replaced the existing system of co-option for members of the council with elections by rate-payers. This led to a prolonged spell of Liberal control of the council.
Leicester became, in 1889, under the Local Government Act, a county borough. The Corporation was replaced in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, with the modern Leicester City Council, a non-metropolitan district council under Leicestershire County Council. Leicestershire County Council's jurisdiction over the City of Leicester was transferred to the City Council on 1 April 1997, making it a unitary authority, as part of the 1990s UK local government reform.
The position of Lord Mayor of Leicester is mainly a ceremonial post, and is combined with that of chairman of the council. The position is elected yearly by members of the council and rotates. Councillor John Thomas is the incumbent since 29 May 2014.
|Abbey||3||from Abbey Park up to Stocking Farm and Mowmacre Hill|
|Aylestone||2||Aylestone Village, Gilmorton estate, part of Aylestone Park, Aylestone Meadows, one side of Saffron Lane from the Porkpie roundabout to Knighton Lane and Aylestone Road/Lutterworth Road from Grace Road to the county border at Glen Parva.|
|Belgrave||2||the northern half of the Belgrave area|
|Braunstone Park and Rowley Fields||3||including most of Braunstone|
|Castle||3||city centre, Southfields, Clarendon Park|
|Charnwood||2||Northfields, around Charnwood Street|
|Coleman||2||Crown Hills and North Evington, around Coleman Road|
|Freemen||2||Knighton Fields and the Saffron estate|
|Humberstone and Hamilton||3||including Nether Hall|
|Latimer||2||the southern half of the Belgrave area|
|New Parks||3||Braunstone Frith|
|Spinney Hills||3||including parts of Highfields and Evington Valley, and the St Matthew's estate|
|Stoneygate||3||also including parts of Highfields|
|Thurncourt||2||Thurnby Lodge, around Thurncourt Road|
The current ward boundaries were adopted for the 2003 local elections.  Prior to this, there had been 28 wards, each electing 2 members. Wards that had existed and been abolished were Crown Hills, East Knighton, Mowmacre, North Braunstone, Rowley Fields, Saffron, St Augustine's, West Humberstone, West Knighton and Wycliffe.
The Council had been under the control of the Labour Party from 1979 until the 2003 local elections, where no overall control was established. Labour regained control in 2007 and consolidated its position in 2011.
In December 2010 the Council voted to introduce a directly elected mayor with effect from May 2011. On 5 May 2011 Sir Peter Soulsby was elected to the post with 55% of the vote on the first ballot. He will serve for a term of four years.
The current composition of the council is as follows:
Veejay Patel was the Leader of the Council until May 2011, having replaced Ross Willmott on 25 March 2010. Councillor Willmott served three spells as Leader: from May 1999 to May 2003; from November 2004 to May 2005; and from May 2007 to March 2010.
The period of minority administration came about due to the collapse of the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition in November 2004, when the council was in a state of no overall control following the 2003 elections. The coalition regrouped in 2005, but was later hit by Liberal Democrat infighting, leading to the creation of the splinter 'Focus Team' group which worked with Labour in opposition. Labour returned to power with a landslide victory in 2007 and consolidated its position still further in May 2011. Ross Grant is the only remaining Conservative Councillor. Nigel Porter is the only remaining Liberal Democrat Councillor, having defected to the Liberal Democrats from the Conservatives, several weeks prior to the election.
The next election is due to take place on 7 May 2015, although by-elections take place when a seat becomes vacant due to resignation or death of a councillor. As of May 2014, the Council is composed of 51 Labour councillors (including the City Mayor, who is eligible to take part and vote in Council meetings), 1 Conservative councillor, 1 Liberal Democrat councillor and 2 independent councillors. The two independent councillors, Barbara Potter and Wayne Naylor, were elected as Labour councillors but left the Labour Party in 2014.
Previous results of elections to the city council:
|Overall control||Labour||Conservative||Lib Dem||Green|
|2003||No overall control||20||9||25||–|
The May 1996 elections were held out of sequence because of the upcoming unitary authority status, which came into effect on 1 April 1997.
Former leaders include
- Jim Marshall (1973–74)
- Sir Peter Soulsby (1981–1994, 1995–99, current directly elected mayor)
- Roger Blackmore 2003–04 and 2005–07
- Ross Willmott (1999–2003, 2004–05, 2007–2010 stood down to run for Parliament)
- Veejay Patel (2010–2011)