In an exclusive interview with LGC, the former police chief lambasted incumbent mayor Ken Livingstone (Lab) for treating the assembly with “utter contempt”. He said legislative changes were needed to prevent the mayor from being able to appoint unelected cronies to key positions, as Mr Livingstone has been widely accused of doing.
Mr Paddick said: “I would prefer a much more democratic approach whereby assembly members led some of the mayor’s policy areas.”
“There would be a cabinet-style situation which the current set-up just does not allow.”
In an attempt to boost his devolutionary credentials, Mr Paddick also pledged to hand planning powers back to boroughs.
Controversial new powers, which come into force in April, allow the mayor to override boroughs to grant planning permission to major developments.
But Mr Paddick argued this was unnecessary: “Clearly, we need to have a planning strategy for London but having agreed with the boroughs which parts of London need to carry each bit of that burden, it must be left to publicly elected politicians to decide exactly where [developments] should go.”
He conceded that these changes could not be enforced overnight, adding: “We need to prove that we [the mayor and the boroughs] can work collaboratively to prove that the powers are not necessary. When we have done that, I would make the case to central government.”
Mr Paddick said he had consulted closely with the party’s London-based councillors as he formulates policies, describing Sutton LBC leader Sean Brennan and Islington LBC leader James Kempton as key advisors.
Mr Paddick, however, still remains an outside bet to land the coveted role. Recent polls put him in third place behind Boris Johnson (Con), who in a poll this week held a 12% lead over Mr Livingstone.
London Councils on Monday published a prospectus, Trusting devolution: the challenge for London, calling on mayoral candidates to “leave space” for boroughs to “build an effective governing role, at a geographic level to which citizens can relate”.