Westminster City Council
Westminster City Council
Westminster London Borough Council
Leader of the Council
Adam Hug, Labour
since 6 May 2022
Hamza Taouzzale, Labour
since May 2022
since 17 January 2018
|First past the post|
|5 May 2022|
|7 May 2026|
|Westminster City Hall|
Westminster City Council is the local authority for the City of Westminster in Greater London, England. The city is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors. The council is currently composed of 31 Labour Party members and 23 Conservative Party members. The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 and replaced three local authorities: Paddington Metropolitan Borough Council, St Marylebone Metropolitan Borough Council and Westminster Borough Council.
There have previously been a number of local authorities responsible for the Westminster area. The current local authority was first elected in 1964, a year before formally coming into its powers and prior to the creation of the City of Westminster on 1 April 1965. Westminster City Council replaced Paddington Metropolitan Borough Council, St Marylebone Metropolitan Borough Council and the Westminster City Council which had responsibility for the earlier, smaller City of Westminster. All three had been created in 1900, with Paddington and St Marylebone replacing the parish vestries incorporated by the Metropolis Management Act 1855. Westminster itself has a more convoluted history and the metropolitan borough council established in 1900 had replaced the Vestry of the Parish of St George Hanover Square, the Vestry of the Parish of St Martin in the Fields, the Strand District Board of Works, the Westminster District Board of Works and the Vestry of the Parish of Westminster St James.
It was envisaged that through the London Government Act 1963 Westminster as a London local authority would share power with the Greater London Council. The split of powers and functions meant that the Greater London Council was responsible for "wide area" services such as fire, ambulance, flood prevention, and refuse disposal; with the local authorities responsible for "personal" services such as social care, libraries, cemeteries and refuse collection. This arrangement lasted until 1986 when Westminster City Council gained responsibility for some services that had been provided by the Greater London Council, such as waste disposal. Westminster became an education authority in 1990.
In the late 1980s, the Conservative-led Council was involved in the Homes for votes scandal. In marginal wards, this involved the Council moving the homeless elsewhere, and selling off council homes to groups who were more likely to vote Conservative. On investigation, the policy was ruled to be illegal, and it was revealed that some of the homeless had been rehoused in condemned accommodation. Former leader of the Council Dame Shirley Porter was found guilty of wilful misconduct and ordered to repay £36.1m. In view of her personal circumstances, a payment of £12.3 million was eventually accepted.
Since 2000 the Greater London Authority has taken some responsibility for highways and planning control from the council, but within the English local government system the council remains a "most purpose" authority in terms of the available range of powers and functions.
Powers and functions
The local authority derives its powers and functions from the London Government Act 1963 and subsequent legislation, and has the powers and functions of a London borough council. It sets council tax and as a billing authority also collects precepts for Greater London Authority functions and business rates. It sets planning policies which complement Greater London Authority and national policies, and decides on almost all planning applications accordingly. It is a local education authority and is also responsible for council housing, social services, libraries, waste collection and disposal, traffic, and most roads and environmental health.
Summary results of elections
|Year||Party in control||Conservative||Labour||Others|
- 1964–1965 David Cobbold
- 1965–1969 Gordon Pirie
- 1969–1972 A.C. Barrett
- 1972–1976 Hugh (Guy) Cubitt
- 1976–1983 David Cobbold
- 1983–1991 Dame Shirley Porter, Lady Porter
- 1991–1993 David Weeks
- 1993–1995 Miles Young
- 1995–2000 Melvyn Caplan
- 2000–2008 Sir Simon Milton
- 2008–2012 Colin Barrow
- 2012–2017 Philippa Roe, Baroness Couttie
- 2017–2020 Nickie Aiken MP
- 2020–2022 Rachael Robathan 
- 2022-Present Adam Hug 
Lord Mayors of Westminster
|1965||Sir Charles Norton||2nd term. First Lord Mayor.|
|1966||Anthony L. Burton|
|1966||Arthur C. Barrett|
|1967||Christopher Anthony Prendergast|
|1970||Brian Fitzgerald-Moore||2nd term|
|1972||John E. Guest|
|1973||David Neville Cobbold||2nd term|
|1974||Group Captain Gordon Pirie||2nd term|
|1975||Councillor Roger M. Dawe|
|1978||Wing Commander William Henry Kearney|
|1980||Donald du Parc Braham|
|1981||G. I. Harley|
|1986||Mrs Terence Mallinson|
|1990||Dr David Avery|
|1991||Dame Shirley Porter|
|1992||Dr Cyril Nemeth|
|2019||Ruth Bush||First Lord Mayor elected from the minority party|
|2022||Hamza Taouzzale||First Muslim and BAME Lord Mayor|
- Homes for votes scandal
- Westminster cemeteries scandal
- 2022 Westminster City Council election
- 2018 Westminster City Council election
- Your Councillors at westminster.gov.uk
- Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. Vol. I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-901050-67-9.
- "The Education (Inner London Education Authority) (Property Transfer) Order 1990". Legislation.co.uk. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
- All facts below are taken from the description of facts as printed in the decision of the Judicial Appealate Committee of the House of Lords of the Westminster Parliament in Porter v Magill  2 AC 357, and are repeated here under absolute privilege
- Rosenberg, Jonathan (1998). Against the odds. London: WECH. ISBN 0-9533073-0-1.
- Magill, John (3 February 2004). "WESTMINSTER CITY COUNCIL BUILDING STABLE COMMUNITIES REPORT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST". The Guardian. London.
- Leach, Steve (1998). Local Government Reorganisation: The Review and its Aftermath. Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-0714648590.
- "Council Tax and Business Rates Billing Authorities". Council Tax Rates. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
- "Local Plan Responses – within and outside London". Mayor of London. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
- "Westminster City Hall". Open House London. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- "New Leader of Westminster City Council elected". City of Westminster. 22 January 2020.
- "Statement From Westminster City Council Leader Elect Adam Hug". 6 May 2022.
- "City of Westminster elects new Lord Mayor". Westminster City Council. 21 May 2020.