Leicester City Council
Coat of arms
Council logo
Type
Type
Leadership
Bhupen Dave,
Conservative
since 16 May 2024[1]
Peter Soulsby,
Labour
since 9 May 2011
Alison Greenhill
since 1 March 2021[2]
Structure
Seats1 executive mayor
54 councillors[3]
Leicester City Council composition
Political groups
Administration (31)
  Labour (31)
Opposition (24)
  Conservative (14)
  Liberal Democrat (3)
  Green Party (3)
  Independent (3)
Length of term
Executive mayor elected every four years
Whole council elected every four years
Elections
Plurality-at-large
First-past-the-post voting
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
6 May 2027
Meeting place
Town Hall, Town Hall Square, Leicester, LE1 9BG
Website
www.leicester.gov.uk

Leicester City Council is a unitary authority responsible for local government in the city of Leicester, England. It consists of 54 councillors, representing 22 wards in the city, overseen by a directly elected mayor. It is currently controlled by the Labour Party and has been led by mayor Sir Peter Soulsby since 2011. The council also appoints a ceremonial Lord Mayor who chairs council meetings; the directly elected mayor is termed the City Mayor to distinguish the post from the Lord Mayor.

The main council offices are at City Hall on Charles Street, but council meetings are held at Leicester Town Hall, completed in 1876.[4]

As a unitary authority, the council is responsible for running nearly all local services in Leicester with the exception of the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service and Leicestershire Constabulary which are run by joint boards of the city council with Leicestershire County Council and Rutland County Council.

History

The Council traces its roots to the Corporation of Leicester, and before then to the Merchant Gild and the Portmanmoot. The Portmanmoot consisted of 24 Jurats, elected from the burgesses (members of the Gild Merchant, or freemen), along with two bailiffs, and a clerk. It appears to have existed before the Norman Conquest in 1066. In 1209, the lead member of the Portmanmoot, the Alderman, became known as a mayor. The Gild Merchant and the Moot overlapped in membership and had probably become effectively merged in the 14th century. Membership of the Twenty-Four appears to have been by co-option, chosen by themselves.

Traditionally, the general populace attended some meetings of the Moot and Guild, but this was restricted to burgesses in 1467. Later, in 1489, this changed to a system where the Mayor and the Twenty-Four chose Forty-Eight burgesses to represent the others, and the Twenty-Four and the Forty-Eight would govern jointly.

After doubts as to the ability of the Moot and Gild to hold property arose in the 16th century, the corporation was formed, replacing the Gild and Portmanmoot, in 1589. A second charter was granted in 1599, reconfirming this, to The Mayor, Bailiffs and Burgesses of the Borough of Leicester. The 24 Jurats became known as the Aldermen of the corporation, and the 48 other Burgesses as the Common Council. The members of the Corporation chose the burgesses to send to the House of Commons.

Leicester was reformed to become a municipal borough in 1836 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, which standardised how most boroughs across the country were governed. The borough was then led by a corporate body formally called the "mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the borough of Leicester", which was generally known as the corporation or town council.[5] The previous system of co-option for members of the council was replaced with elections by rate-payers. This led to a prolonged spell of Liberal control of the council. When elected county councils were established in 1889, Leicester was considered large enough to provide its own county-level services, and so it became a county borough, independent from Leicestershire County Council.[6]

In 1919 Leicester was awarded city status, after which the corporation was formally called the "mayor, aldermen and citizens of the city of Leicester", also known as the city council. In 1928 the council was given the right to appoint a Lord Mayor.[7]

The corporation was replaced in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, with the modern Leicester City Council, a non-metropolitan district. This was a lower tier district-level authority, with county-level services being provided to the city by Leicestershire County Council for the first time. Leicester regained its independence from the county council in 1997 when it was made a unitary authority as part of the 1990s UK local government reforms.[8]

In 2011, following a referendum, the position of directly elected mayor was created to provide political leadership for the council. The directly elected mayor is called the City Mayor to distinguish the post from the continuing position of Lord Mayor. The Lord Mayor acts as a ceremonial figurehead for the city and chairs council meetings, with the position usually being held by a different councillor each year.

Governance

As a unitary authority, Leicester City Council provides both county-level and district-level services. There are no civil parishes in the city.[9]

Political control

The council has been under Labour majority control since 2007.

Political control of the council since the 1974 reforms took effect has been as follows:[10] [11]

Non-metropolitan district

Party in control Years
Labour 1974–1976
Conservative 1976–1979
Labour 1979–1997

Unitary authority

Party in control Years
Labour 1997–2003
No overall control 2003–2007
Labour 2007–present

Leadership

Political leadership is provided by the directly elected Mayor of Leicester. The separate post of Lord Mayor is the council's ceremonial figurehead and chairs full council meetings. Prior to 2011 political leadership was provided by the leader of the council. The leaders from 1974 to 2011 were:[12]

Councillor Party From To
Jim Marshall Labour 1974 1974
Ken Middleton Labour 1974 1976
Michael Cufflin Conservative 1976 1979
Ken Middleton Labour 1979 1981
Peter Soulsby Labour 1981 1994
Stuart Foster Labour 1994 1996
Peter Soulsby Labour 1996 1999
Ross Willmott Labour 1999 22 May 2003
Roger Blackmore[13] Liberal Democrats 22 May 2003 25 Nov 2004
Ross Willmott Labour 25 Nov 2004 19 May 2005
Roger Blackmore Liberal Democrats 19 May 2005 17 May 2007
Ross Willmott Labour 17 May 2007 25 Mar 2010
Veejay Patel Labour 25 Mar 2010 8 May 2011

Since 2011, the directly elected mayor has been:

Mayor Party From To
Peter Soulsby Labour 9 May 2011

Composition

Following the 2023 election, one subsequent change of allegiance in August 2023 and one suspension in March 2024, the composition of the council was as follows:[14][15]

Party Councillors
Labour 31
Conservative 14
Liberal Democrats 3
Green 3
Independent 3
Total 54

The next election is due in 2027.

Councillor Diane Cank left the Labour group in August 2023. Councillor Sanjay Modhwadia, the Conservative Party candidate in the 2024 Leicester mayoral election, was suspended from the Conservative Party following an argument with group leader Deepak Bajaj in a public car park over who should be the next group leader.[16] Conservative group leader Deepak Bajaj subsequently defected to the Labour Party on 8 April, lambasting a culture of violence, racism, religious divides, threats and bullying within the Conservative Party in Leicester.[17][18][19] The conservative group was further reduced in June 2024 when councillor Nagarjun "Nags" Agath quit the party to stand as an independent candidate in Leicester East in the 2024 United Kingdom general election. Agath cited displeasure in the choice of the Conservative candidate, Shivani Raja, in that election as his reason to stand, branding her as an "inexperienced candidate" that had been "dumped" on the city.[20][21]

Premises

Council's main offices: City Hall, 115 Charles Street, Leicester, LE1 1FZ

The council has its main offices at City Hall on Charles Street, which was built in 1938, previously being called Municipal Buildings and Attenborough House until it was renamed City Hall in 2014.[22]

Council meetings are held at Leicester Town Hall on Town Hall Square, which was completed in 1876.[23]

Between 1975 and 2014 the council had its main offices at the New Walk Centre, which has since been demolished.

New Walk Centre, former council offices that were demolished in 2015

Elections

See also: Leicester City Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2015 the council has comprised 54 councillors representing 21 wards with each ward electing two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years, with the election for the mayor and council being held together.[24]

The wards are:[25]

Ward Councillors Notes
Abbey 3 from Abbey Park up to Stocking Farm and Mowmacre Hill
Aylestone 2 Aylestone Village, Gilmorton estate, part of Aylestone Park, Aylestone Meadows, one side of Saffron Lane from the Porkpie roundabout to Knighton Lane and Aylestone Road/Lutterworth Road from Grace Road to the county border at Glen Parva.
Beaumont Leys 3
Belgrave 3 most of the Belgrave area
Braunstone Park & Rowley Fields 3 including most of Braunstone
Castle 3 city centre, Southfields, Clarendon Park
Evington 3
Eyres Monsell 2
Fosse 2
Humberstone & Hamilton 3 including Nether Hall
Knighton 3
North Evington 3
Rushey Mead 3 Includes parts of the Belgrave area including Agar Street.
Saffron 2
Spinney Hills 2 including parts of Highfields
Stoneygate 3 also including parts of Highfields
Thurncourt 2 The Thurnby Lodge estate
Troon 2 The Northfields estate, parts of the former Charnwood ward and a small part of the Rushey Mead area
Westcotes 2
Western 3 The New Parks estate
Wycliffe 2 St Matthew's estate and part of Highfields

A new set of wards and ward boundaries came into effect for the 7 May 2015 council elections. Wards that previously existed and were abolished are Charnwood, Coleman, Freeman, Latimer, New Parks and Western Park.

The previous ward boundaries were adopted for the 2003 local elections.[26] Prior to this, there had been 28 wards, each electing 2 members. Wards that had existed and been abolished were Crown Hills, East Knighton, Mowmacre, North Braunstone, Rowley Fields, Saffron, St Augustine's, West Humberstone, West Knighton and Wycliffe.

Coat of arms

Coat of arms of Leicester City Council
Notes
Arms and crest granted in 1619, supporters in 1926.[27]
Crest
On a wreath of the colours a wyvern sans legs Argent strewed with wounds Gules wings expanded Ermine.
Escutcheon
Gules a cinquefoil pierced Ermine.
Supporters
On either side a lion reguardant Gules gorged with a ducal coronet suspended therefrom by a chain Or a cinquefoil Ermine pierced Gules.
Motto
Semper Eadem ('Always The Same')

Notes

References

  1. ^ "Council minutes, 18 May 2023". Leicester City Council. Retrieved 5 November 2023.
  2. ^ "Leicester City Council announces new chief operating officer". Leicester City Council. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Open Council Data UK – compositions councillors parties wards elections".
  4. ^ "Annual Meeting, Council, The Council Chamber, First Floor, Town Hall, Town Hall Square, Leicester". 18 May 2023. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  5. ^ Municipal Corporations Act 1835
  6. ^ Local Government Act 1888
  7. ^ "No. 33405". The London Gazette. 20 June 1928. p. 4898.
  8. ^ "The Leicestershire (City of Leicester and District of Rutland) (Structural Change) Order 1996", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1996/507, retrieved 6 November 2023
  9. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 6 November 2023.
  10. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  11. ^ "Leicester". BBC News. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  12. ^ "Council minutes". Leicester City Council. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Labour snatches council control". BBC News. 26 November 2004. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  14. ^ "Local elections 2023: full council results for England". The Guardian. London. 9 May 2023. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  15. ^ Patel, Asha; Moorhouse, Sam (31 August 2023). "Labour councillor quits party to stand as independent following Leicester East branch suspension". Leicestershire Live. Retrieved 6 November 2023.
  16. ^ Richardson, Hannah (26 March 2024). "Councillor suspended after accusations of threatening behaviour". Leicestershire Live. Retrieved 22 April 2024.
  17. ^ "Conservative Group Leader quits party and rejoins Labour amid 'bullying' allegations – Leicester Times | Weekly Newspaper | Leicester News". 8 April 2024. Retrieved 22 April 2024.
  18. ^ Richardson, Hannah (8 April 2024). "City's Conservative Party leader returns to Labour fold". Leicestershire Live. Retrieved 22 April 2024.
  19. ^ "Leader of Leicester's Conservative Party returns to Labour". BBC News. Retrieved 22 April 2024.
  20. ^ https://www.leicester.gov.uk/media/twmb2lev/statement-of-persons-nominated-notice-of-poll-leicester-east.pdf
  21. ^ https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-news/leicester-conservative-councillor-quits-party-9330340
  22. ^ "Local Heritage Asset Register" (PDF). Leicester City Council. 2023. p. 129. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  23. ^ Historic England. "Town Hall (Grade II*) (1074780)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  24. ^ "The Leicester (Electoral Changes) Order 2014", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2014/3339, retrieved 6 November 2023
  25. ^ Local Government Boundary Commission for England. "Leicester (Electoral Changes) Order 2014". lgbce.org.uk. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  26. ^ Local Government Boundary Commission for England. "Electoral review of Leicester 2002". lgbce.org.uk. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  27. ^ "East Midlands Region". Civic Heraldry of England. Retrieved 5 March 2021.

52°37′53″N 1°08′00″W / 52.6313°N 1.1334°W / 52.6313; -1.1334