Campaigners today said they have reached the number of signatures needed to force a referendum on how an east London borough is governed.
The Newham People’s Petition want to see a vote on scrapping the borough’s directly elected mayor and returning to a council leader and cabinet model next year.
Elected mayors hold more power than traditional council leaders because they can approve major plans alone.
The campaigners needed 11,100 residents to sign a petition in favour of holding a referendum on the model, a target they now say they have achieved.
Dhanniya Sugathan, leading campaigner for Newham’s People’s Petition, said: “We have met with queues of people willing to sign the petition. Residents are ready for change.
"Few councils have a directly elected mayor model. The leader and cabinet model is the most popular form of governance. There is good reason for that.
"Residents want a democratic and accountable structure of governance. We are committed to progressing and supporting the petition for a referendum to be held in 2021.”
The petition is expected to be presented to the council later this month.
Four London boroughs – Lewisham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham – have directly elected mayors and this is the first time the system has been successfully challenged in the capital.
Labour’s Rokhsana Fiaz became London’s first directly elected woman mayor in April 2018.
She was elected by an overwhelming majority in Newham, winning 73.4 per cent of the vote, after ousting Britain’s longest-serving elected mayor Sir Robin Wales as Labour candidate in a fierce party selection battle.
Ms Fiaz then surrendered most of her executive powers less than six months into the job and agreed to delegate executive decision-making to her cabinet of senior councillors.
She also pledged to hold a referendum on the mayoral system in the borough.