Mayors in England

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In England, the offices of mayor and lord mayor have long been ceremonial posts, with few or no duties attached to them. In recent years they have doubled as more influential political roles while retaining the ceremonial functions. A mayor's term of office denotes the municipal year. The most famous example is that of the Lord Mayor of the City of London.


Traditionally mayors and provosts have been elected by town, borough and city councils. Since 2000, several districts now have directly elected mayors with extensive powers.

See borough status in the United Kingdom for a list of English districts to have a borough charter (and therefore a mayor). The role of the chairman of a district council is exactly the same as the mayor of a borough council, and they have the same status as first citizen, after the Sovereign, in their district, but they are not addressed as mayor.


In England, where a borough or a city is a local government district or a civil parish, the mayor is elected annually by the council from their number and chairs meetings of the council with a casting vote. Where the mayoralty used to be associated with a local government district but that district has been abolished, Charter Trustees may be set up to provide continuity until a parish council may be set up. Where a parish council (whether the successor of a former borough or not) has resolved to style itself a Town Council, then its chairman is entitled to the designation Town Mayor, though in practice, the word Town is often dropped.

Direct election

In 2000 the Labour government led by Tony Blair passed a local government reform which changed this system somewhat. Several districts in England now have directly elected mayors with real powers and an advisory cabinet to assist them.

Also since 2000, the area of Greater London has had a Greater London Authority headed by the Mayor of London. This is a separate post to the historic and honorific Lord Mayor of London and may be characterised as a strategic, regional, role rather than as anything analogous to previous local government in England.

Lord Mayors

The right to appoint a Lord Mayor is a rare honour, even less frequently bestowed than city status.

Currently, 23 cities in England have Lord Mayors:


The Lord Mayors of London and York are styled The Right Honourable , Bristol also uses the honorific although without official sanction. a All other Lord Mayors, as well as the Mayors of cities and the original Cinque Ports (Sandwich, Hythe, Dover, Romney and Hastings), are styled The Right Worshipful. All other Mayors are styled The Worshipful, though this is in practice seldom used for a Town Mayor. These honorific styles are used only before the Mayoral title and not before the name, and are not retained after the term of office.

A mayor can also be styled Mr Mayor and usually appoints a consort, usually a spouse, other family member or fellow councillor. In England (and the Commonwealth) the designated female consort of a mayor is usually styled Mayoress or occasionally Mrs Mayor and accompanies the mayor to civic functions. [1] [2] A female mayor is also called mayor, not, as sometimes erroneously called, "Lady Mayoress". A mayoress or Lady Mayoress is a female consort of a mayor or Lord Mayor; a male consort of a mayor or Lord Mayor is a Mayor's Consort or Lord Mayor's Consort.

^a The Lord Mayor of Bristol uses the prefix without official sanction. [3] [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Bristol City Council, formerly known as The Bristol Corporation, is the local government authority governing the city of Bristol, England. Following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, successive royal charters granted increasing rights of local governance to Bristol. County status was attained in 1373 and city status in the early sixteenth century. Bristol Corporation was established in the nineteenth century and the office of Lord Mayor was created in 1888. Following a brief period as part of the county of Avon in the late twentieth century, Bristol regained its status as a city and county in 1996.

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The prefix The Honourable, abbreviated to The Hon., Hon., or The Hon'ble, is an honorific style that is used before the names of certain classes of people.


  1. "How to address the Mayor". Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk. Retrieved 14 September 2018. In the opening of a speech being made you would say 'Mr Mayor'
  2. "It's not easy being Ipswich's first lady". The Queensland Times. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2018. THE first notion Janet Pisasale got that being married to a man in public life was going to be difficult was even before he was elected. ... MRS MAYOR: Janet Pisasale relaxes at home. ....
  3. The Title of Lord Mayor – Use of the Prefix "Right Honourable", The Times, 7 July 1932, p.16
  4. "Lord Mayor of Bristol". Bristol City Council. Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2008.