Review: Directly Elected Mayors in Urban Governance: Impact and Practice edited by David Sweeting

Andrew Walker


The introduction of directly elected mayors is one of the most significant recent developments in the structure of governance of the UK. The first mayor of London was elected in 2000, and the model has spread slowly but surely to other cities across the country, with varying powers and parameters attached.

In May 2017 there were elections in six English city-regions for directly elected metro mayors. These new positions as figureheads of combined authorities were a prerequisite of the transfer of powers from Whitehall arranged by George Osborne when he was at the treasury.

Mayoral roles and responsibilities are fairly clearly defined and circumscribed in legislation and the contractual arrangements with government, but there are still plenty of unknowns within what is a novel form of governance and power in the UK. David Sweeting’s volume is a timely and useful guide to the issues and argument. It takes a number of the key debates around the salience of directly elected mayors in urban governance and fleshes them out with useful case studies that look in-depth at cities around the world.

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