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New Labour and Local Government

A body for London Government was restored, to replace the Greater London Authority that was abolished in 1986.

The Greater London Act, 1999, produced a weaker body than the GLC and, for the first time in Britain, an elected mayor to head the authority.

The Local Government Act, 2000 made provision for other local authorities in England to have elected mayors and also to replace their committee systems with an executive Cabinet of councillors.

In practice, only about 40 local authorities decided to hold a referendum on whether there should be an elected mayor and in the majority of these the idea was rejected.

John Prescott, the deputy Prime Minister at the time was keen on regional government. Unelected regional development agencies were set up across England, but a referendum to have an elected Regional Council in the North-East was defeated.

There has been more of a shift in recent years to City Mayors and Metro-Mayors.