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Case study on Ken Livingstone – the first elected Mayor of London

Kenneth Robert Livingstone was born on 17 June 1945 in Lambeth, London.

In 1968 he was elected to the Greater London Council (now abolished) for the Labour Party becoming Leader of the GLC in 1981.

Livingstone entered the UK Parliament in 1987 serving the people of Brent East until 2001.

He became the first Mayor of London in 2000. Ideologically, Mr. Livingstone is a socialist on the far left of the Labour Party and sometimes referred to as ‘Red Ken’.

Becoming Mayor of London

Prime Minister Tony Blair prevented Livingstone from becoming a potential candidate for Labour in the first mayoral elections.

He considered him to be too left-wing. Livingstone went on to fight and win the election as an independent, unusual for UK politics.

During his first term as Mayor of London, he introduced the congestion charge, Oyster cards used on public transport such as the underground, and articulated buses, although he was unsuccessful in his opposition to the government’s privatisation of London Underground.

A Second Term

Due to his popularity, Livingstone was re-elected in 2004, but as the official Labour Party candidate.

He then expanded his transport policies, introducing new environmental regulations, and enacting civil rights policies.

Livingstone initiated and oversaw London’s winning bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics and worked on a major redevelopment of the city’s East End.

He was also praised for his leadership during the London bombings, which took place on 7 July 2005.

Livingstone stood for election again in 2008 and 2012 but lost both times to the Conservative candidate, Boris Johnson.