Elections


Elections form an important part of the governance of the City, but to someone not directly involved, their different procedures and electorates can be confusing. This page seeks to clarify the various elections, which are for:

The Lord Mayor

The Sheriffs (and also some other officers, such as Ale Connors and Auditors)

The Aldermen

The Common Councilmen

The Masters, Wardens and Courts of the livery companies


The Lord Mayor

Eligibility for election requires candidates to be an alderman, and to have served the office of the sheriff. Typically there will be just three or four such qualified candidates, and all liverymen (who have been liverymen since May the previous year) are eligible to vote for two of them, at Common Hall in Guildhall on Michalemas Day (29th September).

The Court of Aldermen then decide which of the two will be the next Lord Mayor, to take office the following November.

The Sheriffs

Normally there will be two sheriffs, of whom one will be an alderman, and the other not. Occasionally, when the pool of qualified aldermen to go on to be the Lord Mayor dwindles (see above), the Court of Aldermen will ask for two aldermanic sheriffs.

Often there are just two candidates (for two places) but three or more candidates are also quite normal. However regardless of the number, an election will take place. All liverymen, as above, vote for two sheriffs atCommon Hall in Guildhall on Midsummer Day (24th June). The Sheriffs take office on Michaelmas Eve (28th September).

Also on this day are elected the Auditors, Bridgemasters (2) and Ale Connors (4), now largely symbolic offices,as well as members of the Livery Committee.

List of Past Sheriffs

The Aldermen

The Court of Aldermen has 25 members, one representing each ward of the City of London. They are elected by the registered voters† within the ward (ie not the livery), and stand for re-election at least every six years(separately from the Common Councilmen elections, and not all at once, but as vacancies occur). They retire at 70 years of age. The historic requirement that aldermen sit as magistrates in the City of London was dropped in 2013, but most still do.

Except in the City of London, Aldermen elsewhere were abolished under theLocal Government Act 1972in 1974, except for otherLondon boroughswhere the position was abolished in 1978.

List of current Aldermen

The Common Councilmen

The Court of Common Council has 100 members, a variable number representing each ward of the City of London (on average four per ward). They are elected by theregistered voterswithin the ward, (the same as aldermen, ie not the livery), and stand for re-election every four years(on the same day in March, next in 2017). Common Councilmen are the City's equivalent of local government elected councillors, and have similar responsibilities.

The Masters*, Wardens and Courts of the livery companies

Each of the 109 livery companies has their own method of electing their masters, wardens etc. In every case bar one (the Bowyers) elections for masters and wardens are for one year. (Bowyers for two). Some companies conduct their election at "Common Hall" - this should not be confused with the common halls at Guildhall mentioned above.

*The Fishmongers', Goldsmiths', Dyers', Blacksmiths', Basketmakers' andShipwrights' have a Prime Warden (rather than Master) whilst the Weavers' (usually acknowledged as the oldest livery company) have an Upper Bailiff.

† Registered voters -In the City, uniquely, workers as well as residents have the right to vote. Any organisation that is based in the Square Mile can nominate workers to vote in the ward elections for aldermen and common councilmen.The number of votes is determined by the size of the workforce in each building, not as an aggregate.

Nigel Pullman 2014