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16 December 2019

King's students given chance to question the Mayor of London

Postgraduate students from King’s were recently given the opportunity to meet with Sadiq Khan and ask him what life is really like when you are the Mayor of London.

MA students from King's with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at City Hall

The students were taking a module on the history and governance of London as part of their MA and while visiting City Hall this month they were able to talk to the capital’s Mayor about the typical tasks that make up his day and key aspects of his role, such as overseeing transport and policing in London. They also spoke with him about wider issues including Brexit, dealing with terrorist incidents and his relationship with other politicians.

MA student Mohammad Khpal said: “I thought it was a great experience to meet the Mayor and hear his views about the function of his role and significant policy achievements.

"If you read official minutes or a history book you may not get the same sense of what really happened and how decisions are made. It was a good chance to gain insights into his duties and the ‘soft power’ that is needed as London Mayor when dealing with Government."

MA student Victoria Coutiño Ralda welcomed the insight the course has given her into how London has been governed and its prosperity created. She also appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from the Mayor about his own experience and challenges.

The institution of the Mayor of London is perhaps one of the youngest when compared to the major cities of the western world, dating back only to the year 2000. Meeting the Mayor of London at the City Hall was the ideal finishing touch to such an intensive course on London's history and governance.

MA student Victoria Coutiño Ralda

The visit to City Hall was organised by Tony Halmos, Visiting Professor at the Policy Institute, and  Dr Jack Brown, lecturer in London Studies and London Partnerships Director in the Department of Political Economy.

Dr Brown said: “The Mayor was particularly generous with his time, being as he is a sitting politician - and with both a general election and a mayoral election on the horizon.”

The MA course, which is run by King’s Department of Politics and Economics and the Strand Group, focuses on how London and its governance has developed since the mid-nineteenth century and uses ‘London as a living classroom’. As well as the visit to City Hall, students have also been to the ancient Guildhall in the City of London and to One Canada Square, Canary Wharf.

As part of the same module, students also met former Mayor Ken Livingstone and Sir Edward Lister, who worked with Boris Johnson during his time at City Hall and now works with him in 10 Downing Street. They also heard from Catherine McGuinness, of the City of London Corporation, Claire Kober who was leader of London Councils, and Professor Tony Travers of the London School of Economics.

I am hugely grateful to the Mayor and all of our very special guests for giving us their time, sharing their insights and engaging with our students, and to my co-teacher Visiting Professor Tony Halmos for his crucial role in making this all happen.

Dr Jack Brown

In this story


Lecturer in London Studies and London Partnerships Director


Visiting Professor