Ritchie on the City of London again

Sorry, but this is still Ritchiebollocks:

And yet, as I noted yesterday, in the City of London there is an older system of government in operation where a person living in the City, and with a right to vote, may not stand for election unless a Freeman of the City of London – a privilege that it is admitted is granted through the City Livery Companies – which are exclusive clubs designed to serve the interest of an elite to which most will be never invited into membership.

No.

The rules for who is a Freeman of the City of London are here.

WAYS OF BEING ADMITTED
There are four ways of becoming a Freeman, each of which can be undertaken either through,
or without, the intervention of one of the Livery Companies (although before 1835, one had to
be a Livery Company member first):
The Honorary Freedom, the highest honour the Corporation of London can bestow, which is
granted only by special Resolution of the Court of Common Council to distinguished and
worthy people, either as individuals (e.g. Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale) or as
members of particular groups (e.g. the City Imperial Volunteers in the Boer War, the City Fire-
Watchers in the 2nd World War);
Servitude, by which a person has to complete an apprenticeship of at least 7 (or, since 1889, 4)
years\’ duration to a City Freeman;
Patrimony, open only to the legitimate and natural children of a male (or, since 1976, female)
Freeman who were born after their parent\’s own Freedom admission. Since 1999, adopted
children and children legitimated by the subsequent marriage of their parents have also been
eligible for admission by patrimony, so long as their birth date was after the City Freedom
admission of their adopter or parent;
Redemption, or purchase, obtainable by any one of the following ways:
presentation by a Corporation officer or other person who had been granted the right of
presenting a limited number of candidates in lieu of salary or as a reward for services. The
intending Freeman usually had to pay the officer for presenting him or her, in addition to the
usual Freedom fees, although the City Freedom archives do not note this personal fee. This
right was abolished in the mid-19th century;
directly petitioning the Court of Aldermen, if becoming Free through the intervention of a
City Livery Company;
directly petitioning the Court of Common Council, if no Livery Company were involved
(possible after 1835 only);
by being on the City Parliamentary Register of Electors (possible after 1856 only).

Do note that last line.

There are indeed oddities about who gets to vote in City elections. Members of the Livery companies for example, who are not resident in the City, but are Freemen, get to vote in City elections. Maybe this is a good or a bad thing, up to you to decide.

But Ritchie\’s specific allegation is that \”a person living in the City, and with a right to vote, may not stand for election unless a Freeman of the City of London\”. But by being a person living in the City and with a right to vote they are, by definition, a Freeman of the City of London and thus able to stand for election.

Might I suggest that Ritchie have a look at the City election results? Have a chat with Peter Kenyon? I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that that is the Peter Kenyon who is the head of the City of London Labour Party? Or that he read this piece in Tribune about how Labour contested the election as a political party for the first time?

Or even just do a basic Google search about City elections?

Dozens of residents are standing for election to the Corporation\’s Court of Common Council. The Labour Party is also fielding eight candidates. The authority has been dominated by \”independent\” City high-fliers since the early Nineties.

2 thoughts on “Ritchie on the City of London again”

  1. There’s another category specifically to make sure that anyone can stand for election:

    “In addition, there is another specialised category open to those people who wish to stand for election to the Court of Common Council … In such a case an applicant can be supported by any two electors registered in the City”

    See here, at the bottom:
    http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/Local_history_and_heritage/Freedom_of_City/applying.htm

  2. Oh, and you can’t vote in the City of London elections just by being a Freeman. You have to either live there or own a business employing people there.

    The only thing Freemen can vote for without having a residential or business qualification is the Lord Mayor, but that’s a limited privilege because he has to be chosen from amongst the Aldermen, who are elected only by those with a residential or business qualification.

    Also I don’t think it’s usually a contested election.

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