Westminster City Council

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Westminster City Council

Westminster London Borough Council
Logo
Type
Type
Leadership
Leader of the Council
Adam Hug, Labour
since 6 May 2022
Lord Mayor
Hamza Taouzzale, Labour
since May 2022
Chief executive
Stuart Love
since 17 January 2018
Structure
Seats54 councillors
Westminster City Council 2022.svg
Political groups
Administration (31)
  •   Labour (31)

Opposition (23)

Elections
First past the post
Last election
5 May 2022
Next election
7 May 2026
Meeting place
Westminster City Hall, Victoria Street SW1 - geograph.org.uk - 1284668.jpg
Westminster City Hall
Website
www.westminster.gov.uk

Westminster City Council is the local authority for the City of Westminster in Greater London, England. The city is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors. The council is currently composed of 31 Labour Party members and 23 Conservative Party members.[1] The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 and replaced three local authorities: Paddington Metropolitan Borough Council, St Marylebone Metropolitan Borough Council and Westminster Borough Council.

History[edit]

A map showing the wards of Westminster between 2002 and 2022

There have previously been a number of local authorities responsible for the Westminster area. The current local authority was first elected in 1964, a year before formally coming into its powers and prior to the creation of the City of Westminster on 1 April 1965. Westminster City Council replaced Paddington Metropolitan Borough Council, St Marylebone Metropolitan Borough Council and the Westminster City Council which had responsibility for the earlier, smaller City of Westminster. All three had been created in 1900, with Paddington and St Marylebone replacing the parish vestries incorporated by the Metropolis Management Act 1855. Westminster itself has a more convoluted history and the metropolitan borough council established in 1900 had replaced the Vestry of the Parish of St George Hanover Square, the Vestry of the Parish of St Martin in the Fields, the Strand District Board of Works, the Westminster District Board of Works and the Vestry of the Parish of Westminster St James.[2]

It was envisaged that through the London Government Act 1963 Westminster as a London local authority would share power with the Greater London Council. The split of powers and functions meant that the Greater London Council was responsible for "wide area" services such as fire, ambulance, flood prevention, and refuse disposal; with the local authorities responsible for "personal" services such as social care, libraries, cemeteries and refuse collection. This arrangement lasted until 1986 when Westminster City Council gained responsibility for some services that had been provided by the Greater London Council, such as waste disposal. Westminster became an education authority in 1990.[3]

In the late 1980s, the Conservative-led Council was involved in the Homes for votes scandal. In marginal wards, this involved the Council moving the homeless elsewhere, and selling off council homes to groups who were more likely to vote Conservative. On investigation, the policy was ruled to be illegal, and it was revealed that some of the homeless had been rehoused in condemned accommodation. Former leader of the Council Dame Shirley Porter was found guilty of wilful misconduct and ordered to repay £36.1m. In view of her personal circumstances, a payment of £12.3 million was eventually accepted.[4][5][6]

Since 2000 the Greater London Authority has taken some responsibility for highways and planning control from the council, but within the English local government system the council remains a "most purpose" authority in terms of the available range of powers and functions.[7]

Powers and functions[edit]

The local authority derives its powers and functions from the London Government Act 1963 and subsequent legislation, and has the powers and functions of a London borough council. It sets council tax and as a billing authority also collects precepts for Greater London Authority functions and business rates.[8] It sets planning policies which complement Greater London Authority and national policies, and decides on almost all planning applications accordingly. It is a local education authority and is also responsible for council housing, social services, libraries, waste collection and disposal, traffic, and most roads and environmental health.[9]

Buildings[edit]

The Council is usually based at Westminster City Hall on Victoria Street in Victoria. The City Hall was designed by Burnet Tait & Partners on a speculative basis, and completed in 1966.[10]

Summary results of elections[edit]

Year Party in control Conservative Labour Others
2022 Labour 23 31 -
2018 Conservative 41 19 -
2014 44 16 -
2010 48 12 -
2006 48 12 -
2002 48 12 -
1998 47 13 -
1994 45 15 -
1990 45 15 -
1986 32 27 1
1982 43 16 1
1978 39 19 2
1974 37 23 -
1971 37 23 -
1968 55 5 -
1964 41 19 -

Leaders[edit]

Lord Mayors of Westminster[edit]

Year Name Notes
1965 Sir Charles Norton 2nd term. First Lord Mayor.
1966 Anthony L. Burton
1966 Arthur C. Barrett
1967 Christopher Anthony Prendergast
1968 Leonard Pearl
1970 Brian Fitzgerald-Moore 2nd term
1971 John Wells
1972 John E. Guest
1973 David Neville Cobbold 2nd term
1974 Group Captain Gordon Pirie 2nd term
1975 Councillor Roger M. Dawe
1976 Jack Gillett
1977 Hugh Cubitt
1978 Wing Commander William Henry Kearney
1979 Reginald Forrester
1980 Donald du Parc Braham
1981 G. I. Harley
1982 Thomas Whipham
1983 Phoebette Sitwell
1984 John Bull
1985 Roger Bramble
1986 Mrs Terence Mallinson
1987 Kevin Gardner
1988 Elizabeth Flach
1989 Simon Mabey
1990 Dr David Avery
1991 Dame Shirley Porter
1992 Dr Cyril Nemeth
1993 Jenny Bianco
1994 Angela Hooper
1995 Alan Bradley
1996 Robert Davis
1997 Ronald Raymond-Cox
1998 David Harvey
1999 Alex Segal
2000 Michael Brahams
2001 Harvey Marshall
2002 Frances Blois
2003 Jan Prendergast
2004 Catherine Longworth
2005 Tim Joiner
2006 Alexander Nicoll
2007 Carolyn Keen
2008 Louise Hyams
2009 Duncan Sandys
2010 Judith Warner
2011 Susie Burbridge
2012 Angela Harvey
2013 Sarah Richardson
2014 Audrey Lewis
2015 Lady Flight
2016 Steve Summers
2017 Ian Adams
2018 Lindsey Hall
2019 Ruth Bush First Lord Mayor elected from the minority party
2020 Jonathan Glanz[13]
2022 Hamza Taouzzale First Muslim and BAME Lord Mayor

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Your Councillors at westminster.gov.uk
  2. ^ Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. Vol. I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-901050-67-9.
  3. ^ "The Education (Inner London Education Authority) (Property Transfer) Order 1990". Legislation.co.uk. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  4. ^ All facts below are taken from the description of facts as printed in the decision of the Judicial Appealate Committee of the House of Lords of the Westminster Parliament in Porter v Magill [2002] 2 AC 357, and are repeated here under absolute privilege
  5. ^ Rosenberg, Jonathan (1998). Against the odds. London: WECH. ISBN 0-9533073-0-1.
  6. ^ Magill, John (3 February 2004). "WESTMINSTER CITY COUNCIL BUILDING STABLE COMMUNITIES REPORT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST". The Guardian. London.
  7. ^ Leach, Steve (1998). Local Government Reorganisation: The Review and its Aftermath. Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-0714648590.
  8. ^ "Council Tax and Business Rates Billing Authorities". Council Tax Rates. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Local Plan Responses – within and outside London". Mayor of London. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Westminster City Hall". Open House London. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  11. ^ "New Leader of Westminster City Council elected". City of Westminster. 22 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Statement From Westminster City Council Leader Elect Adam Hug". 6 May 2022.
  13. ^ "City of Westminster elects new Lord Mayor". Westminster City Council. 21 May 2020.