For centuries York was an ancient borough which fiercely guarded its rights and independence, and in 1835 it became a Municipal Borough and in 1889 a County Borough. Until 1918 two MPs represented the York constituency, from 1918 one MP represented the City of York constituency and since 2010 there is now an MP for York Outer and another for York Central.

Lord Mayors of the city have included George Champney, George Leeman and George Hudson.