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Since may 2000 London has had it's own mayor and this set the blue print for elected mayors elsewhere in the UK. The London Mayor is quite different to the historic but largely ceremonial role of the 'Lord Mayor of London'. The London mayor does not have the full powers of other city mayors such as in New York but nonetheless has a large say in a huge range of matters concerning London such as transport, policing, emergency services and cultural and economic development. He also has tax raising powers via the London precept, this is an add-on to the local council tax specifically to fund the London Mayor.
The first London Mayor was Ken Livingston who was then re-elected in 2004. Ken Livingston is best known for introducing the London congestion charge which is very controversial with Londoners as well as other traffic calming measures that have had a large impact on journey times for car users in the capital.
In 2008 Boris Johnson became London second mayor defeating Ken Livingstone into second place in the election.
The London Mayor now has control of the London tube system which is now run as a private-public partnership to bring in the funding required for the tube system. The London mayor answers to the London Assembly, a body of 25 members elected to oversee the running  of the office of London Mayor.
Whether London actually required a mayor or not remains a hot topic of debate. All the current roles the mayor performs were covered by other bodies. One train of thought says that Tony Blair decided to setup the mayor system in order to delegate out many of the measures he wanted to bring in but didn't want direct association with. There's no doubt that having a mayor means a real term increase in local taxes and can be seen as a way of raising extra funding while disassociating that tax increase from the government.
For a map and explanation of London constituencies and the London Assembly click here.
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