Monday 9 December 2019 7:52 pm

Exclusive: City of London mulls over historic Lord Mayor selection reform

The City of London Corporation’s highest body is considering changes to the way it selects the Lord Mayor as part of its efforts to attract a more diverse range of candidates.

Guildhall’s ancient Court of Aldermen is comprised of 25 elected members – one from each of the Square Mile’s different wards. It sits alongside the City of London’s Court of Common Council, which is comprised of 100 elected councillors.

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The Court of Aldermen selects the new Lord Mayor of London every year in conjunction with the corporation’s trade guilds – known as Livery companies.

City A.M. understands the Court of Aldermen has been engaged in secret talks about reforming the opaque election process, which has remained largely unchanged for nearly 800 years.

A senior Guildhall figure said they have discussed bringing in independent appraisers for the annual election, increasing transparency and opening up the process to junior members.

They added: “It’s about ensuring that it’s not an old boys’ network and making sure the rules are properly applied.

“The selection has to improve and reflect the fact that the City of London has a very diverse population.

“There are set term limits and I think in two years there will be greater changes…I’m hoping in the next two years the balance is shifted.”

Currently, Lord Mayors are chosen in private sessions that are conducted by Guildhall heavyweights.

Some members of the Court of Common Council and the Court of Alderman believe the current process inhibits diverse candidates from being selected.

In nearly 800 years there have been only two female Lord Mayors.

A senior Court of Common Council source said all 125 elected officials should have a say in who is elected – not just the 25 aldermen.

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“Some are beginning to worry that the process is likely in breach of the equalities act, and it’s lack of transparency damaging to our reputation.” they said

The City of London Corporation was approached for comment.