A year later than planned, Londoners are having their say on who controls the city’s political institutions.

The May 6 elections, dubbed ‘Super Thursday’, are the biggest exercise of democracy Britain has seen outside of an election.

In England the 13 Mayoral positions are being contested along with 145 local councils.

Sadiq Khan is looking to secure a second term in the capital, facing competition from 19 candidates.

Londoners are also selecting representatives for the London Assembly, the body which will oversee whoever is elected as Mayor.

News Shopper headed out to Bromley Parish Church polling station to hear what voters had to say.

News Shopper:

Brandy Pearson

Retired priest Brandy Pearson, 70, was sure of her convictions. 

She said: "I’m doing my best to get rid of as many Tories as possible, in the hope that there will be more socialist policies.

"I don’t vote Tory ever.

"I voted Green on the one opportunity I had to vote for someone else.

"I feel there’s no point in voting for minority parties most of the time because they’re never going to get in."

Tom, a 32-year-old estate agent, expressed the opposite view. 

He said: "I'd do anything to get rid of Sadiq Khan.

"Gun crime up, knife crime up, congestion crime up, the recession’s up, bike lane’s up.

"Sean Bailey’s probably just the lesser of two evils.

"These plant pots need to go, they are blocking ambulances, causing people to die.

"He’s also the solicitor who defended a terrorist, so I really think he needs to go."

News Shopper:

Andrew Westcott

Andrew Westcott, 39, works for a taxi company, but had more sympathy with the current mayor's approach to transport. 

"Environment and transport are the most important issues for me," he said. 

"I think Khan has had a lot of challenges, particularly over the last 12 months.

"He needs to do better about thinking of London as a whole, balancing the needs of Londoners rather than pushing just one agenda.

"Greater access to electric car charging units is a big issue.

"I think the Liberal Democrat and Green candidates were strong on the environment too.

"They are proposing quite interesting policies, particularly on transport and how to deal with congestion."

News Shopper:

Ralph Skelton

Ralph Skelton, 89, said that coronavirus remained the defining issue for him. 

The former university lecturer, who has four grandchildren, said: "What’s been happening with Covid is the biggest thing that’s been on my mind.

"In the initial stages I didn’t think Khan dealt with it well, but it’s much better now.

"I’ve had my two jabs, the first in December, the second a month later.

"I think whoever I voted for might do a better job than Khan.

"I’m not a big fan of Khan. I’m a traditional Conservative voter.

"I can’t see any huge changes coming, it’s a bit of a stalemate at the moment."

Locally, the grandfather of four hopes to see Bromley protected from excessive high-rise developments. 

He said: "I dislike the many huge buildings going up in the town centre.

"We’re bound to have a few larger buildings, but one or two suggested recently go too far."

News Shopper:

Patrick Locke

Patrick Locke, 23, an analyst for a software company, also saw the handling of the pandemic as central, but for different reasons.  

He said: "My most important issue is the handling of the pandemic and how we move forward in the right way.

"It’s important to vote for people who have a plan for how to tackle crime and have something to say about council tax.

"While it’s important to vote for someone who can get us moving quickly, its important they have other things to say as well.

"I don’t think Khan’s handled the pandemic too well. He supported Eat Out To Help Out, which was a mistake at the time.

"I think London should be moving again very soon. The vulnerable groups are vaccinated.

"I very much don’t like the idea of vaccine passports. The hospitality industry should be fully open now, the fact they’re closed is devastating to them.

Patrick was the first voter to express a positive view of Conservative candidate Sean Bailey. 

He said: "Sean Bailey caught my eye.

"I don’t normally resonate with the Conservative party, I resonate with the Labour party.

"I particularly liked his story about being homeless, living on pennies. He knows the struggle of people on lower wages."

News Shopper:

Midas DeLaat

Midas DeLaat, as 25-year-old games designer from Holland, felt he needed to show his support for a serious candidate amongst a crowded field.

He said: "I’ve seen a lot of political adverts this year and a lot of people saying wacky things, so I thought it was important to vote for people who were bringing up actual issues like the housing crisis.

"We need to keep the wackjobs out.

"I think Sadiq Khan has been doing great. He’s brought some stability and reasonable discourse to the city."

News Shopper:

Anthony Verrall

Anthony Verrall, a 57-year-old aluminium window fabricator, said it was time to "bring back Boris Johnson."

He said: "My priority is getting the economy moving again and avoiding going into another lockdown.

"The sooner Khan’s gone the better. He’s corrupt and lied about the deadline on Crossrail. He’s rubbish.

"Bring back Boris Johnson!"