Two of Lewisham’s mayoral candidates are calling for an end to the mayoral system in the borough.

Chris Maines, mayoral candidate for the Liberal Democrats, and John Hamilton, mayoral candidate for People Before Profit, are both part of the Bring Back Democracy campaign which Mr Hamilton set up in 2006 to scrap the mayoral system.

In the current system, the elected mayor has ultimate responsibility for all major policy decisions.  Some of this responsibility may be delegated or shared with cabinet members.

Mr Hamilton told the News Shopper the campaign wants to see the council run by one or more committees, made up of elected councillors.

This is back to a council system which was reformed across the country by former prime minister Tony Blair.

“What we used to have in all councils in England was the committee decision with an elected leader,” Mr Hamilton explained.

“All councils with a voting population above 80,000 now either have a leader and cabinet or mayor and cabinet.”

Mr Maines said decision making should be shared more equally across the council.

He said: “I am depressed by the fact Lewisham has an executive mayor. I don’t think it is democratic, I don’t think it leads to good decisions and I don’t think it leads to good services for the local residents, and we will  continue to campaign for a system that is far more democratic where decision making is shared by elected people and not by one person.

“I think it’s impossible for one person to have the vision to drive forward the borough for the next 30 years and deal with the issues that a council leader has to deal with so I think you need a team of people there – and we certainly want to have a team running Lewisham’s services.”

The campaign needs 10,000 signatures to force a referendum on whether Lewisham Council should be run by one or more committees made up of elected councillors.