The Deputy Mayor of London is a post established within the GLA Act (1999) and is a statutory position and role. The individual who holds the post must be an elected member of the London Assembly and is appointed by the Mayor of London. Two people have held the post before me, Nicky Gavron (Labour) for seven years and Jenny Jones (Green) for one year. Both served under Ken Livingstone.
The Deputy Mayor of London can act on behalf of the Mayor, without formal delegation and can represent the Mayor. They are also the formal successor, followed by the Chair of the Assembly, should the Mayor be incapacitated or otherwise unable to fulfil their duties and they stand in place until a mayoral election can take place. They cannot fire anyone but other decisions, on advice, can be made.
Nicky Gavron once described the post of Deputy Mayor as, “second fiddle in a one man band”. There may be some truth in what she says, but it depends upon what you make of the role and the responsibilities upon which the Mayor asks you to lead.
In my international role, on behalf of the Mayor, I meet foreign guests; Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Cultural Attachés, Mayor’s and Deputy Mayor’s, State Governors. I also represent the Mayor at some overseas conferences and exhibitions; Curitiba in Brazil; Green International Sporting Events, Mumbai India; Business Continuity and Resilience, Shanghai China; London Week at Shanghai Expo; Eurocities Conference; Vienna Security, this year.
My daily responsibilities include Social Justice and Community Cohesion; Equalities and Diversity; sponsor for Responsible Procurement and Diversity Works for London; Mayoral lead and Chair of the London Strategic Migration Partnership; Chair, London’s Older Peoples Strategy Group; Chair London 2012 Equality and Diversity (a national responsibility); Chair London Debt Strategy Forum, Chair the London Region Resilience Forum.
A rich and varied role that involves all of London’s communities, disabled groups, faith groups and forums, ethnicities and language groups. It also meant that London’s host culture is celebrated and we now hold an annual Mayoral Christmas Carol Service in Southwark Cathedral, a non-denominational service where all are welcome, and St. George’s Day is celebrated in Trafalgar Square. For the first time ever last year a Passion play was performed in the Square and it is hoped that this too will become an annual event.
My watch words throughout are that London shall be a “safe place and a place of safety”. Where all shall have the opportunity to share in the success and prosperity of the capital city and that we do all that we can to ensure that London is not divided by poverty and prosperity and opportunity.
London is a poly-cultural society that must endeavour to live in understanding, one of another. It should not be the place to replicate conflict from around the world.