Labour has won an unprecedented five seats in the City of London’s local elections which take place every four years and usually return only independent candidates.
Some 7,400 residents as well as 400,000 people who work in the Square Mile were given a vote in the common council elections, which closed at 8pm last night.
Peter Kenyon, chair of Labour’s City of London branch, told City A.M. the group has no specific policy objectives with regards to financial services. Instead, it wants to focus on “changing corporation policy with regards to affordable housing, the living wage and tackling rough sleeping.”
Its other manifesto commitments are to promote the London living wage of £9.75 per hour for all workers in the City and to create more dedicated cycling lanes.
He also said that the victory, outside of Labour’s traditional areas of support, feels “very sweet”.
Labour won five out of the eight seats it contested, though all 95 other seats remain under the control of independents such as Temple and Farringdon, a coalition of local business representatives and barristers.
The City of London is the second smallest local authority area in England, behind West Somerset, and the oldest continuous representative local government in the world. One of its official roles is to promote London as a leading financial centre.
Labour only started contesting local City seats in 2009, and won its first one in 2014.
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has in the past called for the unusual system of independent local government by the Corporation of London to be abolished.
Peter Kenyon insists that official Labour party policy is to work with and accept the Corporation, and that the City of London Labour Party's manifesto has been "considered" by Labour’s City spokesman, Johnnie Reynolds.