Zoe Garbett standing in front of flats in London

The Green Party’s Zoë Garbett has launched her manifesto for the Hackney Mayoral by-election. Among the policies she’s putting forward is a plan to abolish the role of mayor entirely.

The Green Party has long opposed directly elected mayors in England, with the Greens in Hackney arguing that the mayoral role ‘undermines democracy’ in the Borough. According to the Greens, this is because nearly all decision-making responsibilities are removed from the borough’s elected councillors with power instead concentrated in one person.

Garbett says she would seek to abolish the mayoral role as part of a package of proposals which she says would ‘give residents more power over crucial local issues’, and ‘open the council up to more public scrutiny’.

As part of this, Garbett says she wants to enable Hackney’s Youth Parliament to proposed amendments to the Borough Council’s budget, explore using citizens’ assemblies to tackle major challenges facing the council, and introduce a participatory budgeting approach to council finances, allowing up to 20 per cent of the council’s budget to be set by residents by 2026.

Garbett said: “Having a directly elected Mayor is the very reason we are having this by-election which has disrupted council business and cost us all money. The directly elected Mayor holds too much power. It is so important for residents to get a choice to change the governance of the Council and why I commit to working towards holding a referendum to upgrade our local democracy.”

“I know that standing for a role with the ultimate aim of getting it removed is unusual, but we are Hackney and we can do things differently.

“Residents tell me that they do not feel listened to and that even when they participate in a consultation they do not feel it makes any difference. I will be led by people so that we can create a better Hackney together and open up the Council to more public scrutiny.

“I will hand over more power directly to citizens and help people to win greater power over their own lives, homes, and communities with a view to making the position of Mayor redundant. I want to save the council time and money and hand power back.”

The Hackney Mayoral by-election is taking place on November 9 and has been triggered by the resignation of the Philip Glanville in September.

In 2022, Garbett stood for the Hackney mayoralty. She came second in that election, picking up 17 per cent of the vote.

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