Ken Livingstone
British politician, former Mayor of London
Ken Livingstone
Kenneth Robert Livingstone is a British Labour Party politician who has twice held the leading political role in London local government, first as the Leader of the Greater London Council from 1981 until the Council was abolished in 1986, and then as the first elected Mayor of London from the creation of the office in 2000 until 2008. He also served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Brent East from 1987 to 2001.
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Ken Livingstone will play no formal role in Labour's defence review -
Google News - about 1 year Ken Livingstone will play no formal role in Labour's defence review Ken Livingstone will play no formal role in the defence review, a Labour spokesperson has revealed. The surprise announcement comes just days after the former Mayor of London suggested the review could recommend ditching Trident in as little as two ... Ken Livingstone sidelined from Labour's defence policy reviewThe Guardian Livingstone won't have 'formal role' in Labour defence reviewBBC News Trident Sceptic Thornberry Has 'Open Mind'Sky News The Independent -Daily Mail all 52 news articles »
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Ken Livingstone branded 'a shameful stupid man' by relatives of 7/7 victims - Daily Mail
Google News - about 1 year
Daily Mail Ken Livingstone branded 'a shameful stupid man' by relatives of 7/7 victims Daily Mail Ken Livingstone was last night branded 'shameful' by relatives of 7/7 victims after claiming the bombers 'gave their lives' in the terrorist attacks that killed 52. The former London mayor claimed the suicide bombers had acted 'in protest at our ... Where would the new kinder, gentler politics be without Ken Livingstone?The Guardian Ken Livingstone under pressure to quit Labour role over 'horribly wrong' 7/7 Hijacking the Iraq war to justify extremismLeft Foot Forward Irish Independent -The Independent -BBC News all 44 news articles »
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Ken Livingstone backtracks on apology over 'psychiatric help' remarks - The Guardian
Google News - over 1 year
The Guardian Ken Livingstone backtracks on apology over 'psychiatric help' remarks The Guardian Livingstone accused Jones of starting the row by suggesting he was 'unfit' for role as co-chair of Labour's review of Trident. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian. Rowena Mason, Nicholas Watt and Rajeev Syal. Wednesday 18 November 2015 16.14 ... Ken Livingstone owes an apology to millions Ken Livingstone apologises after saying MP Kevan Jones needed 'psychiatric help'The Independent Livingstone apologises after saying depressed colleague was 'disturbed'the Irish News Belfast Telegraph all 176 news articles »
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How Ken Livingstone helped write Ed Miliband's manifesto by ANDREW PIERCE
Daily Mail (UK) - almost 2 years
Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone was a key figure in drafting Labour's election manifesto, launched by Ed Miliband last week, writes ANDREW PIERCE.
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Daily Mail (UK) article
Richard Rogers calls for severe tax on owners of empty houses
Guardian (UK) - about 3 years
Architect says measure is required to cut vacancy rates in prime areas of London and support principle of social responsibility Richard Rogers has called for a "severe" new tax on empty homes and warned that prime areas of London are emptying because of wealthy buyers leaving homes vacant. The international architect and urbanist, who advised Tony Blair, Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, said taxes should be levied, possibly as soon as six months after a property becomes empty, to reinforce the principle that "owners of buildings have a social responsibility as well as an economic one". Lord Rogers's comments came in response to the Guardian's expose of The Bishops Avenue "billionaires row" in north London, where a third of the mansions on the most expensive stretch are unused. The architect of the Lloyds building, Millennium Dome and Terminal 5 at Heathrow said he believed this was "a terrible way of looking at buildings" and warned the problem is spreading to other affluent area ...
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Tories stoking Andrew Mitchell row, says Ken Livingstone - The Guardian
Google News - about 3 years
The Guardian Tories stoking Andrew Mitchell row, says Ken Livingstone The Guardian Ken Livingstone has accused the Conservative party of stoking up the row over Andrew Mitchell's comments to police officers and playing down the significance of a cabinet minister swearing at them. Following PC Keith Wallis's admission that he fabricated ... Met chief apologises after officer admits Plebgate lies and pleads guilty in courtThe Times (subscription) Tories 'stoking up plebgate row'MSN UK Plebgate officer admits misconductNottingham Post Herald Scotland -Daily Mail -Evening Standard all 182 news articles »
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Rich will tower over poor in London's Docklands
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
Campaigners and local MPs react with dismay to news of luxury development in area with 23,000 people on housing waiting lists It will be bigger than Canary Wharf, worth more than £1bn and create more than 700 luxury apartments to appeal to the world's super-rich. Hertsmere Tower is the latest grand residential project planned for the capital that will target the overseas buyers who are currently picking up four out of every five prime London properties. Days after the estate agency firm Savills warned that developers in London were focusing on high-end properties when the biggest need was for affordable homes, it has emerged that an Irish developer is planning to build a 74-storey, 714-apartment skyscraper alongside the Canary Wharf tower in London's Docklands. Tom Ryan has paid £100m for the site and aims to spend eight times that sum on a tower that will be just seven metres higher than its near neighbour. If planning permission for the vast residential complex is granted – and p ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Nancy Cohen-koan: We Love Malcolm...
Huffington Post - over 3 years
When Andy Lee and I decided to do a film about London's first mayoral race and particularly front runner Malcolm McLaren, I was under no illusions. Malcolm had a difficult reputation and though I had spoken to him a few times about his thoughts on the coming millennium, we had never actually met. Still, I was impressed with his gift of gab and figured he'd be a live wire and fun to document. As we started researching for the film, it became clear that he was not too popular with a lot of people. The Sex Pistols didn't like him, so we opted to not try and interview any of the remaining musicians. Why alienate the candidate from the start? But we needn't have worried. Early on his political team supplied us with the theme song by the O Levels, We Love Malcolm. Its ironic lyrics underscore the low expectations...We Love Malcolm, repeats until its followed by the refrain, cause no one else does. Most recently I read comments by h ...
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"It's a tragedy she ever came to power" - Livingstone - Voice of Russia - UK Edition
Google News - almost 4 years
Voice of Russia - UK Edition "It's a tragedy she ever came to power" - Livingstone Voice of Russia - UK Edition Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone was a fierce critic of Mrs Thatcher when she was a power. He was given the moniker of "Red Ken" for his socialist beliefs by the British media during her tenure. VoR's Tim Ecott asked Mr Livingstone for his reaction to ... and more »
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Court Rules In Favour Of Boris's Ban On 'Gay Cure' Bus Ad
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
Mayor of London Boris Johnson's decision to ban a Christian group's controversial bus advert about gays was not unlawful, the High Court has ruled. Mrs Justice Lang ruled on Friday Johnson did not abuse his position as chairman of Transport for London (TfL) when he imposed the ban. Sitting at London's High Court, Justice Lang ruled that TfL's process in introducing the ban "was procedurally unfair, in breach of its own procedures and demonstrated a failure to consider the relevant issues". Boris said the adverts were 'offensive to gays' But that was outweighed by factors against allowing the ad, including that it would "cause grave offence" to those who were gay and was perceived as homophobic, "thus increasing the risk of prejudice and homophobic attacks", said the judge. The decision was a defeat for Core Issues Trust, a Christian charity that said Mr Johnson was "politically driven" when he intervened to block the ad, which suggests that gay people can be help ...
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Sam Parker: How Tony Blair and Iraq Robbed a Generation of Their Faith in Politics
Huffington Post - about 4 years
I imagine for many people alive today, the great politicising event of their childhood came in the form of a tragedy. The first dreadful hammer of the Luftwaffe passing overhead, the panicked screams at the Dealey Plaza or the bullet holes at Bogside - that key event that propelled you to develop a political consciousness seems more likely to have been one that made you angry than inspired. But for many of us who were still just 16 on 15 February, 2003, that landmark came in a moment of hope when more than 1,000,000 people descended on the streets of London to march in protest against the imminent invasion of Iraq. Anti-Iraq war march, London, 2003 It was, we were told, the largest public protest in British history. I still remember the feeling of pride as I poured over the pictures, that sense that we belonged, not to the most 'politically apathetic generation' ever to live after all, but to the most engaged, the most righteous. Like hundreds of teenagers w ...
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Boris Johnson triggers fresh cronyism claims with Andrew Gilligan job
Guardian (UK) - about 4 years
Journalist who helped London mayor topple main rival, Ken Livingstone, is offered post of cycling adviser Boris Johnson has triggered a new row over alleged cronyism after it emerged that he has offered the post of cycling adviser to Andrew Gilligan, the journalist who did more than any other to topple the London mayor's main rival, Ken Livingstone. Gilligan is expected to take up the post part-time while retaining his current staff position at the Daily Telegraph, but will curtail his coverage of London issues. It is understood he will be paid the normal adviser rate on a pro-rata basis. Most of the mayor's advisers are paid more than £90,000. The two have a long-standing relationship. Johnson hired Gilligan at the Spectator after the award-winning journalist lost his job following the BBC's war with Alastair Campbell over the Iraq dossier and the furore over the death of government scientist David Kelly. In 2008, investigative articles by Gilligan about Livingstone, his associat ...
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McCartney, 'God particle' scientist get honors
San Francisco Chronicle - about 4 years
McCartney, 'God particle' scientist get honors Associated Press Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Updated 10:25 pm, Saturday, December 29, 2012 McCartney was honored with the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, in part for her work creating the skintight, red-white-and-blue uniforms worn by British athletes as they grabbed 65 medals during the 2012 games hosted by London. McCartney is the designer daughter of ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and his first wife Linda, and she has moved to make the family name almost as synonymous with fashion as it is with music, setting up a successful business and a critically-acclaimed label. For decades, the existence of such a particle remained just a theory, but earlier this year scientists working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, said they'd found comp ...
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Best slapdowns of 2012
Guardian (UK) - about 4 years
Wickedly withering words from famous names including Madonna, Barack Obama and Karl Lagerfeld January "Welcome to Twitter... @RupertMurdoch. I've left you a Happy New Year message on my voicemail!" John Prescott reacts to the media mogul's nascent social media presence "If I'm just like a virgin, Ricky, why don't you come over here and do something about it?" Madonna bites back at Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes, after the comedian claimed the singer had not yet lost her virginity "I don't think we should go to the moon. I think we maybe should send some politicians up there." Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul responds to his rival Newt Gingrich's suggestion that the US install a permanent lunar base February "Nobody wants Greece to disappear, but they have really disgusting habits. Italy as well." Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld on the euro crisis March "When was the last time you bought a pasty in Greggs?" George Osborne gets a going over from Labour MP John Mann ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Stars return for Sky Arts interviews
Broadcast - over 4 years
Anna Friel, James Nesbitt and Ken Livingstone are among the celebrities to feature “in conversation” in a second series of Living The Life picked up by Sky Arts.
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Britain: Big business and the London Olympics
China Worker - over 4 years
The greatest sporting, and money-making, show on earth Manny Thain, from an edited version of an article in Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party, CWI England and Wales) The 2012 Olympic Games, held in London, will start with the ‘Opening Ceremony’ on Friday 27 July, watched by an estimated audience of 1 billion people around the world. Beyond the sporting excellence, Manny Thain looks at the crass commercialisation and increased state repression that accompanies the ‘greatest show on earth’. World records will not be the only things broken at this year’s Olympic and Paralympic games. Promises for a lasting legacy - affordable housing, decent jobs, increased sports participation, and the rest - are being broken, too. The greatest sporting show on earth has been dragged down by crass commercialisation, and become a test-bed for increased state repression. It all began with a lie: that the London Games would cost £2.4 billion. That figure was nev ...
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Boris Johnson plays down Tory leadership plans after Olympic triumph
Guardian (UK) - over 4 years
The mayor of London has had a good Games and may use his second term to woo Tories with more radical policies As Boris Johnson joshingly feigned a little resistance as he handed over the flag to Rio at the Olympics closing ceremony, the British viewing public looked on at the political winner of the Games. While David Cameron, who became embroiled in an argument over school sport and for a time was regarded as a curse on the British medal contenders he went to watch, his former Eton schoolmate prospered, managing even to make light of being stuck on a zip wire in Victoria Park, east London. A poll by ConservativeHome suggested Johnson is the early favourite to succeed Cameron as Tory leader. Furthermore, a YouGov poll published by the Sun over the weekend indicated "BoJo" was the best placed to win over Labour and Liberal Democrat voters as his popularity travels beyond the capital and traditional Tory voters. Along the way, he was praised on Twitter by Rupert Murdoch, chair of Ne ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Cherie Blair: London 2012's secret lobbying weapon
Guardian (UK) - over 4 years
Tony Blair says his wife played a big part in securing Olympic Games for London by schmoozing lesser-known IOC members Cherie Blair was instrumental in securing the 2012 Olympic Games for London, having quietly lobbied many of the less well-known International Olympic Committee delegates, according to her husband, the former prime minister. The success of the bid was previously put down to a number of prominent people, including Ken Livingstone, Sebastian Coe and David Beckham, and Cherie Blair's role may come as a surprise to many. Tony Blair told Murnaghan on Sky: "It was the strangest electorate that I have ever had to deal with, because it is just about 120 people. "Strangely, my wife played a very big part in this really because, of the 120, some were the great and the good and were very well known, and then you had the others who worked in sports administration and they were also on the committee," he said. Blair said that his wife, known professionally as Cherie Booth, had ...
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Guardian (UK) article
London mayoral rivals use loophole to conceal donors' identities - The Guardian
Google News - over 4 years
The Guardian London mayoral rivals use loophole to conceal donors' identities The Guardian Campaigners have called for greater transparency over political funding after Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone used a loophole to conceal the identity of donors who bankrolled their mayoral election campaigns. Figures for donations made during the ... Libel claim against mayor rejectedThe Press Association Collyer Bristow defeats Bob Crow libel claim for BorisThe Lawyer Judge strikes out Crow defamation claim against BorisMayorWatch The Scoop all 8 news articles »
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ken Livingstone
  • 2016
    Livingstone was sacked in Spring 2016 by LBC.
    More Details Hide Details He was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying this was because of his comments about Hitler. With the former Conservative minister David Mellor, Livingstone had co-hosted a Saturday morning current affairs programme on LBC for 8 years. Ken never read philosophical books from a political point of view. He had a gut feeling; he was always opposed to exploitation and inequalities in a big way. He had a social conscience and wanted to do something about it. But he saw it within the existing parliamentary and political system. He didn't consider taking up arms against anybody as a way forward or dramatically changing the electoral system. Within the Labour Party, Livingstone was aligned with the hard left. Historian Alwyn W. Turner noted that Livingstone's entire approach to politics revolved not simply around providing public services, but in trying to change society itself; in his words, he wanted to get away from the concept of "old white men coming along to general management committees and talking about rubbish collection." Biographer John Carvel, a journalist from The Guardian, remarked that Livingstone's political motivation was a "fundamental desire... for a more participative, cooperative society", leading him to oppose "concentrations of power and... exploitation in all its forms – economic, racial and sexual." However, Livingstone has also described his approach to fiscal policy as "monetarist": "I was a monetarist right from the beginning when I was leader of the GLC.
    In April 2016, Livingstone commented publicly on the suspension of Labour MP Naz Shah; she had been removed from the party after it was revealed that she had forwarded a satirical map on Facebook suggesting that Israeli Jews should be relocated to the United States.
    More Details Hide Details Livingstone stated that Shah's postings, which were made before she became an MP at the 2015 general election, were "completely over the top" and "rude", although he did not deem them antisemitic. He asserted that there is a "well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticises Israeli policy as antisemitic", and also stated that Adolf Hitler "was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews". He defended his claims by reference to Lenni Brenner's Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, and many commentators suggested that Livingstone was referring to the Haavara Agreement between Nazi Germany and the Zionist Federation of Germany. Livingstone's statements were criticised by historians, among them Roger Moorhouse, who said that they were historically inaccurate. However political scientist Norman Finkelstein said that whilst "Livingstone maybe wasn’t precise enough, and lacked nuance", his comments did reflect an initial ambivalence on the part of Hitler towards Zionism and other Jewish territorialist projects before the Nazi adoption of the Final Solution, though he conceded Livingstone may have made the remark simply to "bait" critics of Naz Shah. Livingstone also became involved in a public argument on the subject with the Labour MP John Mann.
    In March 2016, Livingstone again courted controversy by comparing a hedge fund's donation to Labour MP Dan Jarvis to "Jimmy Savile funding a children's group"; it subsequently emerged that Livingstone himself had received £8,000 from a hedge fund, leading to accusations of hypocrisy.
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  • 2015
    After Corbyn was elected Labour leader, Livingstone was one of his most prominent allies; in November 2015 Corbyn appointed Livingstone to co-convene Labour's defence review alongside Maria Eagle.
    More Details Hide Details This appointment was criticised by shadow defence minister Kevan Jones, who expressed the view that Livingstone knew little about defence and that it would damage the party's reputation. Livingstone responded by claiming that Jones – who has spoken about his own clinical depression – needed "psychiatric help". Jones took offense, and while Livingstone initially refused to apologise, he subsequently did so at Corbyn's urging. Livingstone faced further criticism following a television appearance in which he stated that the perpetrators of the 2005 London bombings carried out their actions as retribution for UK involvement in the Iraq War.
    In May 2015, Livingstone endorsed Sadiq Khan to be the Labour candidate for the 2016 London mayoral election, and in July then endorsed Jeremy Corbyn in the 2015 Labour Party leadership election.
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  • 2014
    He remained publicly critical of Johnson over the coming years; in April 2014, he admitted that while he had once feared Johnson as "the most hardline right-wing ideologue since Thatcher", over the course of Johnson's mayoralty, he had instead concluded that he was "a fairly lazy tosser who just wants to be there" but who does very little work.
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  • 2012
    On 4 May 2012 Livingstone was defeated in the London 2012 Mayoral Elections by the incumbent Mayor, Boris Johnson.
    More Details Hide Details There was only a difference of 62,538 votes between the 2 candidates with Livingstone receiving 992,273 votes and Johnson receiving 1,054,811 votes. Livingstone criticised bias in the media and declared that he would be bowing out of politics.
    Livingstone stood for the Labour candidacy as 2012 Mayoral candidate.
    More Details Hide Details His campaign attracted criticism when he joked that the election was "a simple choice between good and evil", and when he was accused of anti-semitism by Jewish Labour supporters for suggesting that being largely wealthy, the Jewish community would not vote for him. He denied making the comments, but nevertheless apologised. Johnson's campaign emphasised the accusation that Livingstone was guilty of tax evasion, for which Livingstone called Johnson a "bare-faced liar". The political scientist Andrew Crines believed that Livingstone's campaign suffered from its focus on criticising Johnson rather than presenting an alternate and progressive vision of London's future, also suggesting that after decades in the public eye, Livingstone had come to be seen as an over-familiar and politically tired figure by the London electorate.
  • 2011
    In May 2011, Livingstone said he was "appalled" that Osama bin Laden had been shot dead by US Special forces "in his pyjamas" and "in front of his kid," and that the values of a western democracy would have been best demonstrated if Bin Laden had been put on trial and his words challenged.
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  • 2010
    In September 2010, Livingstone criticised public spending cuts announced by the recently elected Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, which he stated amounted to £45 billion a year for London alone, and were "beyond Margaret Thatcher's wildest dreams" as well as threatening to result in widespread division and poverty across the capital.
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    In July 2010, he spoke at the Durham Miners' Gala, praising working class culture.
    More Details Hide Details He also used the speech to attack spending cuts by the new coalition government, claiming they were not necessary.
  • 2009
    Livingstone and Beal married on 26 September 2009 in the Mappin Pavilion of London Zoo.
    More Details Hide Details They live in North London. Livingstone had also fathered three children prior to 2000; a boy by one mother and two girls by another. The children were born to two different women while Livingstone was involved with Kate Allen, according to an article by Decca Aitkenhead: Throughout his career, Livingstone has polarised public opinion, and was widely recognised as a risk-taker. Supporters described him as the "People's Ken" and an "anti-politician politician", opining that he had the common touch with working-class Londoners that most British politicians lacked. He was widely recognised for having improved the status of minority groups in London. He was also deemed a "formidable operator" at City Hall, with an "intimate knowledge" of London. He was also criticised during his career. During his Mayorship, he faced repeated accusations of cronyism for favouring his chosen aides over other staff. One of his supporters, Atma Singh, commented that under Livingstone's leadership, a culture of bullying pervaded at City Hall, although this was denied by many other staff there.
    From September 2009 to March 2011, Livingstone presented the book review programme Epilogue for the Iranian state-sponsored international news channel Press TV, for which he came under criticism from Iranian exile groups.
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    In January 2009, Livingstone responded to the Gaza War by calling for the European Union and the UK to bring home their ambassadors to Israel to express disapproval for the "slaughter and systematic murder of innocent Arabs".
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  • 2008
    Intent on giving Venezuela the "advice that we promised", in August 2008 Livingstone announced that he would be advising urban planning in Caracas.
    More Details Hide Details Livingstone predicted that in twenty years it could become a "first-world city", and hoped to help with his "very extensive network of contacts both domestically and internationally". But it is already clear that Boris Johnson's Tory regime is one of decline in London: economic decline, social decline, cultural decline and environmental decline. This is the real root of the incompetence administration has shown in its first two months in office.
    The election took place in May 2008, and witnessed a turnout of approximately 45% of eligible voters, with Johnson receiving 43.2% and Livingstone 37% of first-preference votes; when second-preference votes were added, Johnson proved victorious with 53.2% to Livingstone's 46.8%.
    More Details Hide Details Newly elected, Mayor Johnson paid tribute to Livingstone and his "very considerable achievements", hoping that the new administration could "discover a way in which the mayoralty can continue to benefit from your transparent love of London". Johnson's administration nevertheless reversed a number of Livingstone's policies, for instance overturning the deal for Venezuelan oil.
    As part of his campaign, Livingstone highlighted that by 2008, the Metropolitan Police had 35,000 officers, 10,000 more than it had had in 2000, also highlighting statistics to indicate falling crime rates across the city during his Mayorship. Nevertheless, there had been a recent rise in gang killing among young people, with 27 teenagers having been killed in gang warfare during 2007, a statistic used by Johnson's campaign who emphasised the idea that a Johnson administration would be far tougher on youth crime and anti-social behaviour.
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    Livingstone intended to stand again as Labour candidate in the London Mayoral election, 2008, this time against Conservative candidate Boris Johnson.
    More Details Hide Details At the start of the campaign Livingstone took Johnson more seriously than many others were doing, referring to him as "the most formidable opponent I will face in my political career." Much of Labour's campaign revolved around criticising Johnson for perceived racist and homophobic comments that he had made in the past, although Johnson strenuously denied that he was bigoted. Livingstone also proposed that if he were to win a third term he would increase the congestion charge fee to £25 for the most polluting vehicles, while removing it for the least, and that he would also introduce a cycling scheme based on the Vélib' system in Paris.
    He stood unsuccessfully as Labour candidate in London's mayoral elections of 2008 and 2012, losing both to the Conservative candidate Boris Johnson.
    More Details Hide Details Characterised as "the only truly successful Left-wing British politician of modern times", Livingstone is a highly controversial figure in British politics. Supporters lauded his efforts to improve rights for women, LGBT people, and ethnic minorities in London, but critics accused him of cronyism and antisemitism and lambasted his connections to Islamists, Marxists, and Irish republicans.
  • 2007
    Further controversy rocked Livingstone's campaign in December 2007 when Evening Standard journalist Andrew Gilligan alleged that one of Livingstone's close advisers, Lee Jasper, had siphoned off at least £2.5 million from the London Development Agency to fund black community groups with which he was closely associated. Livingstone stood by Jasper and claimed that the Evening Standard campaign was racist, but ultimately agreed to suspend Jasper while a full investigation took place. An independent report into the affair by District auditor Michael Haworth-Maden in July 2009 found no evidence of "misappropriation of funds" but noted "significant" gaps in financial paperwork.
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    In October 2007, London Councils stated Livingstone had gone back on his promise to chair the developing London Waste and Recycling Board, and to provide £6 million of funding for the project, because "the government had failed to provide him with absolute control of the Board."
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    A week later he attended the unveiling of the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square, where he met with Nelson Mandela. In June 2007, he criticised the planned £200 million Thames Water Desalination Plant at Beckton, which will be the United Kingdom's first, calling it "misguided and a retrograde step in UK environmental policy", and that "we should be encouraging people to use less water, not more."
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    In August 2007, he issued a public apology on behalf of London for its role in the transatlantic slave trade.
    More Details Hide Details He selected the anniversary of the Haitian Revolution on which to do it, and in his tearful speech asserted that it was the resistance of enslaved persons rather than the philanthropy of wealthy whites that led to the trade's end.
    In May 2007, Livingstone travelled to New York City to attend the C40 conference of major world cities to deal with environmentalist issues.
    More Details Hide Details One of the leading figures of the conference, he called for other cities to adopt congestion charging as an environmental measure.
  • 2006
    Livingstone helped organise the first "Eid in the Square" event at Trafalgar Square in commemoration of the Islamic Eid ul-Fitr festival in October 2006.
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    In November 2006, Livingstone travelled to Latin America to visit Chávez, during which he and his entourage stayed in Cuba at a cost of £29,000; many British sources condemned the visit as a waste of tax-payer's money.
    More Details Hide Details In August 2007, it was announced that Livingstone had come to an agreement with oil-rich Venezuela; Chávez's government would supply £16 million a year worth of free oil to TfL, who would use it to subsidise half priced bus fares for 250,000 Londoners on benefits. In return, London would provide expertise in running transport, as well as other services such as CCTV and waste management.
    In May 2006, Livingstone welcomed Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to London, hosting an event for him at City Hall.
    More Details Hide Details This was condemned by various Conservatives claiming that Chávez's democratic socialist government had undermined pluralistic democracy. Livingstone proceeded to accept the presidency of the pro-Chávez Venezuelan Information Centre.
    In March 2006, Livingstone publicly criticised foreign embassies in London who refused to pay the congestion charge under the conditions of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
    More Details Hide Details His criticism focused on US diplomat Robert Tuttle, condemning him as a "chiselling little crook" whose embassy was refusing to pay the £1.5 million he believed it owed. In February 2007, Livingstone's administration doubled the congestion charge zone by extending it westwards into Kensington and Chelsea, despite opposition from resident groups. In October 2007, the government agreed to go ahead with Crossrail, a £16 billion project to construct a train line under central London, linking Berkshire to Essex. Meanwhile, Livingstone felt vindicated in his former opposition to public private partnership when one of the companies who now controlled part of the Underground, Metronet, collapsed in July 2007, with the state having to intervene to protect the service. Livingstone had also welcomed the construction of skyscrapers in London, giving the go ahead for 15 to be constructed during his Mayoralty, including 30 St Mary Axe and The Shard. He considered it necessary to fill the demand for office space, but was criticised by groups and individuals, most notably Charles, Prince of Wales, concerned about the preservation of historic skylines.
    He came under further accusations of anti-semitism in March 2006 for asserting that the businessmen David and Simon Reuben should return to Iran if they did not like Britain; he claimed he had mistakenly believed them to be Iranian Muslims, whereas in reality they were Indian Jews.
    More Details Hide Details He refused to apologise to the Reubens, instead offering "a complete apology to the people of Iran for the suggestion that they may be linked in any way to the Reuben brothers".
    In October 2006 at the High Court of Justice, Justice Collins overturned the decision to suspend Livingstone.
    More Details Hide Details Although he had alienated much of London's Jewish community, Livingstone denied charges of anti-Semitism, holding regular meetings with the city's Jewish groups and introducing public Hanukkah celebrations in Trafalgar Square in December 2005.
    The Standards Board for England asked the Adjudication Panel for England to deal with Livingstone on the issue, who in February 2006 found him guilty of bringing his office into disrepute and suspended him from office for a month.
    More Details Hide Details The decision was controversial, with Livingstone and many others arguing that an unelected board should not have the power to suspend an elected official.
  • 2005
    After Livingstone left a party in February 2005, Oliver Finegold, a reporter for the Evening Standard, attempted to ask Livingstone a question in the street.
    More Details Hide Details Aware that Finegold was Jewish, Livingstone accused him of acting "just like a concentration camp guard" and asserting that he worked for the "reactionary bigots... who supported fascism" at the Daily Mail. Although the Evening Standard initially did not deem the comments newsworthy, they were leaked to The Guardian, resulting in accusations of anti-Semitism against Livingstone from the Board of Deputies of British Jews. There were many calls for Livingstone to apologise, including from Tony Blair, the London Assembly, a Holocaust survivors group and his deputy Gavron (the daughter of a Holocaust survivor), but Livingstone refused.
    On 6 July 2005, in a ceremony held in Singapore attended by Livingstone, London was announced as the victor, resulting in widespread celebration.
    More Details Hide Details The following day, British-born Islamist suicide bombers undertook three attacks on the Underground and another on a bus, killing 52 civilians. Livingstone gave a speech from Singapore denouncing the attackers as terrorists, before immediately returning to London. Informing the BBC that Western foreign policy was largely to blame for the attacks, his response to the situation was widely praised, even by opponents. Fearing an Islamophobic backlash against the city's Muslim minority, he initiated an advertising campaign to counter this, holding a rally for inter-community unity in Trafalgar Square. A second, failed suicide bombing attack took place on 21 July, and in the aftermath police officers shot dead a Brazilian tourist, Jean Charles de Menezes, whom they mistook for a bomber. Police initially lied about the killing, resulting in widespread condemnation, although Livingstone defended the actions of Metropolitan Police commissioner Ian Blair.
    Livingstone continued to champion the Palestinian cause in the Israel-Palestine conflict, in March 2005 accusing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of being a "war criminal" responsible for the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre.
    More Details Hide Details During his second term, Livingstone continued his support for London's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, playing a crucial role in securing vital Russian support for the bid.
  • 2004
    In July 2004, he attended a conference discussing France's ban on the burka at which he talked alongside Islamist cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
    More Details Hide Details Livingstone described al-Qaradawi as "one of the most authoritative Muslim scholars in the world today" and argued that his influence could help stop the radicalisation of young British Muslims. The move was controversial, with Jewish and LGBT organisations criticising Livingstone, citing al-Qaradawi's record of anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks, with the meeting leading to a publicised argument between Livingstone and his former supporter Peter Tatchell.
    In the London mayoral election, 2004, Livingstone was announced as the winner on 10 June 2004.
    More Details Hide Details He won 36% of first preference votes to Norris's 28% and Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes's 15%. When all the candidates except Livingstone and Norris were eliminated and the second preferences of those voters who had picked neither Livingstone or Norris as their first choice were counted, Livingstone won with 55% to Norris's 45%. Amid the War on Terror and threat from Al Qaeda, Livingstone sought to build closer ties to the London's Muslim community, controversially agreeing to meet with Islamist groups like the Muslim Association of Britain alongside moderate organisations.
    Livingstone continued to court controversy throughout the campaign; in June 2004 he was quoted on The Guardians website as saying: "I just long for the day I wake up and find that the Saudi Royal Family are swinging from lamp-posts and they've got a proper government that represents the people of Saudi Arabia", for which he was widely criticised.
    More Details Hide Details That same month he came under criticism from sectors of the left for urging RMT members to cross picket lines in a proposed Underground strike because the latest offer had been "extremely generous", leading RMT general secretary Bob Crow to step down as a TfL board member.
    Livingstone's success with the congestion charge and rejuvenation of Trafalgar Square led the Labour leadership to reconsider their position on him, with Blair re-admitting him to the party and asking that he stand as their Mayoral candidate for the 2004 election.
    More Details Hide Details Livingstone eagerly agreed, and Labour Mayoral candidate Nicky Gavron volunteered to take a subordinate position as his deputy. In campaigning for the election, Livingstone highlighted his record: the congestion charge, free bus travel for under 11s, 1000 extra buses, and 5000 extra police officers, whereas his main competitor, the Conservative Steve Norris, campaigned primarily on a policy of abolishing the congestion charge.
    Despite his opposition to Blair's government on issues like the Iraq War, Livingstone was invited to stand for re-election as Labour's candidate and was re-elected in 2004, expanding his transport policies, introducing new environmental regulations, and enacting civil rights policies.
    More Details Hide Details Initiating and overseeing London's winning bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics and ushering in a major redevelopment of the city's East End, his leadership after the 7 July 2005 London bombings was widely praised.
  • 2003
    In November 2003, he made headlines for referring to US President George W. Bush as "the greatest threat to life on this planet," just before Bush's official visit to the UK.
    More Details Hide Details Livingstone also organised an alternative "Peace Reception" at City Hall "for everybody who is not George Bush," with anti-war Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic as the guest of honour.
    He gained the support of Labour's culture secretary Tessa Jowell, who convinced the government to back the plans in May 2003.
    More Details Hide Details In May 2004, the International Olympic Commission put London on the shortlist of potential locations for the Games, alongside Paris, Madrid, Moscow, and New York City; although Paris was widely expected to be the eventual victor, London would prove successful in its nomination. Another major development project was launched in February 2004 as the London Plan, in which Livingstone's administration laid out their intentions to deal with the city's major housing shortage by ensuring the construction of 30,000 new homes a year. It stressed that 50% of these should be deemed "affordable housing" although later critics would highlight that in actuality, the amount of "affordable housing" in these new constructions did not exceed 30%. Livingstone had no control over government policy regarding immigration, which had resulted in a significant growth in foreign arrivals coming to London during his administration; from 2000 to 2005 London's population grew by 200,000 to reach 7.5 million. He didn't oppose this, encouraging racial equality and celebrating the city's multiculturalism. Livingstone condemned the UK's involvement in the Iraq War and involved himself in the Stop the War campaign.
  • 2002
    In 2002, Livingstone came out in support of a proposal for the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London.
    More Details Hide Details He insisted however that the Games must be held in the East End, and result in an urban regeneration program centred on the Lee Valley.
    In 2002, he promoted six of his senior aides, resulting in allegations of cronyism from Assembly members. The Mayoral office was initially based in temporary headquarters at Romney House in Marsham Street, Westminster, while a purpose-built building was constructed in Southwark; termed City Hall, it was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in July 2002, with Livingstone commenting that it resembled a "glass testicle."
    More Details Hide Details Much of Livingstone's first two years were devoted to setting up the Mayoral system and administration. He also devoted much time to battling New Labour's plans to upgrade the London Underground system through a public–private partnership (PPP) program, believing it to be too expensive and tantamount to the privatisation of a state-owned service. He furthermore had strong concerns about safety; PPP would divide different parts of the Underground among various companies, something that he argued threatened a holistic safety and maintenance program. These concerns were shared by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) trade union, who went on strike over the issue, being joined on the picket line by Livingstone. Appointing Bob Kiley as transport commissioner, the duo argued that the upgrade should be carried out in state hands through a public bond issue, as had been done in the case of the New York City Subway. They launched court cases against the government over PPP in 2001–02, but were ultimately unsuccessful, and the project went ahead, with the Underground being privatised in January 2003.
    At a May 2002 party in Tufnell Park, Livingstone got into an argument with Beal's friend Robin Hedges, a reporter for The Evening Standard.
    More Details Hide Details Beal subsequently fell off of a wall and bruised his ribs; the press claimed that Livingstone had pushed him, although he insisted that he did not. Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly referred the matter to the Standards Board for England, who ruled that there was no evidence for any wrongdoing on Livingstone's behalf. As proposed in their election manifesto, in February 2003 Livingstone's administration introduced a congestion charge covering 8 square miles in central London, charging motorists £5 a day for driving through the area. It was introduced in an attempt to deter traffic and reduce congestion; Livingstone himself took the London Underground to work, and tried to inspire more Londoners to use public transport rather than cars. The policy was highly controversial, and strongly opposed by businesses, resident groups, the roads lobby, and the Labour government; many commentators recognised that if opposition resulted in the policy being abandoned then it could lead to the end of Livingstone's political career. That year, the Political Studies Association named Livingstone 'Politician of the Year' due to his implementation of the 'bold and imaginative' scheme. The scheme resulted in a marked reduction on traffic in central London, resulting in improved bus services, and by 2007, TfL could claim that the charge had reduced congestion by 20%. To further encourage the use of public transport, in June 2003, the Oyster card system was introduced, while bus and Underground journeys were made free for people aged 11 to 18.
  • 2001
    Around that time he became involved with Kate Allen, now director of Amnesty International in the UK; the couple separated in November 2001.
    More Details Hide Details He then entered a relationship with his office manager, Emma Beal; they have a son and a daughter together.
    Livingstone's relationship with Kate Allen ended in November 2001, although they remained friends.
    More Details Hide Details He then started a relationship with Emma Beal, together having two children, Thomas (born December 2002) and Mia (born March 2004).
    Continuing his support for LGBT rights, in 2001 he set up Britain's first register for same-sex couples; while falling short of legal marriage rights, the register was seen as a step towards the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
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  • 2000
    With the first mayoral election scheduled for May 2000, in March 1998 Livingstone stated his intention to stand as a potential Labour candidate for the position.
    More Details Hide Details Blair did not want Livingstone as London Mayor, claiming the latter was one of those who "almost knocked party over the edge of the cliff into extinction" during the 1980s. He and the Labour spin doctors organised a campaign against Livingstone to ensure that he was not selected, with Campbell and Sally Morgan unsuccessfully attempting to get Oona King to denounce Livingstone. They failed to convince Mo Mowlam to stand for the mayorship, and instead encouraged the reluctant Frank Dobson to stand.
    The election took place in May 2000, at which Livingstone came first with 58% of first and second-preference votes; Conservative candidate Steven Norris came second and Dobson third.
    More Details Hide Details Livingstone started his acceptance speech with "As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted 14 years ago " Livingstone now had "the largest and most direct mandate of any politician in British history", receiving an annual salary of £87,000. It was the Mayor's job to oversee a number of subordinate bodies, including the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London (TfL), the London Development Agency, and the London Fire Brigade, and in doing so he was granted a number of executive powers. He would be scrutinised by the elected London Assembly, whose first chairman was Trevor Phillips, a Labour politician who had a reciprocated dislike of Livingstone. Livingstone was permitted twelve principal advisers, many of whom were members of Socialist Action or people whom he had worked with on the GLC. Ross and Fletcher became two of his closest confidants, with Livingstone commenting that "They aren't just my closest political advisers... they're also mostly my best friends."
    In March 2000, Livingstone agreed to make a public apology to the House of Commons, after he was criticised over his failure to properly register outside interests worth more than £150,000.
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    After failing to become Labour's candidate in the 2000 London mayoral election, Livingstone successfully contested the election as an independent candidate.
    More Details Hide Details In his first term as Mayor of London, he introduced the congestion charge, Oyster card, and articulated buses, and unsuccessfully opposed the government's privatisation of London Underground.
  • 1997
    However, in 1997 he was re-elected to the NEC, beating Mandelson to the position.
    More Details Hide Details I want to change Britain and I'm not ashamed to say it.
    In December 1997, Livingstone joined a Labour revolt against Blair's attempts to cut benefits to single mothers, and in March 1998 publicly criticised Gordon Brown for advocating "an awful lot of Thatcherite nonsense" and attempting to privatise the London Underground through the PPP scheme.
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  • 1996
    By 1996, various prominent public figures were arguing for the implementation of directly-elected mayors for large UK cities like London. The idea of a London mayor of a Greater London Authority had been included in Labour's 1997 election manifesto, and after their election a referendum was scheduled for May 1998, in which there was a 72% yes vote with a 34% turnout.
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    In his column he often discussed his love of amphibians and campaigned for the protection of the great crested newt, on the basis of which he was appointed vice president of the London Zoological Society in 1996–97.
    More Details Hide Details He subsequently began to write a food column for Esquire and then The Evening Standard, also making regular appearances on the BBC quiz show Have I Got News For You? In 1995, Livingstone was invited to appear on the track "Ernold Same" by the band Blur.
    In 1996, he warned of the growing influence of spin doctors in the party, and called for Blair to sack Alastair Campbell after a High Court judge criticised him in a libel trial.
    More Details Hide Details Nevertheless, Blair's reforms led Labour to a landslide victory in the 1997 general election, resulting in the formation of the first Labour government since 1979.
  • 1995
    Throughout 1995, Livingstone unsuccessfully fought Blair's attempts to remove Clause Four (promoting nationalised industry) from the Labour constitution, which he saw as a betrayal of the party's socialist roots.
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  • 1994
    After Smith died in May 1994, Livingstone again put his name down as a potential leader, although withdrew it due to a lack of support.
    More Details Hide Details Instead, Tony Blair was selected, with Livingstone predicting that he would be "the most right-wing leader" in Labour history. Blair and his supporters sought to reform the party by further expunging leftist elements and taking it to the centre ground, thus creating "New Labour", with Blairite Peter Mandelson asserting that hard left figures like Livingstone represented "the enemy" of reform.
  • 1991
    In October 1991 Livingstone began writing a column for Rupert Murdoch's right-wing tabloid The Sun, a controversial move among British socialists.
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    He continued to make his opinions known, refusing to pay the controversial poll tax until it was revoked, and being one of the 55 Labour MPs to oppose British involvement in the Gulf War in January 1991. Conversely, he supported NATO intervention in the Balkans, and the bombing of Serbia. In the 1992 general election, John Major led the Conservatives to a narrow victory, resulting in Kinnock's resignation as head of Labour.
    More Details Hide Details Livingstone put his name forward as a proposed replacement, with Bernie Grant as his deputy, although they were not selected, with John Smith and Margaret Beckett taking the positions instead.
  • 1990
    The Mayor's Energy Strategy, "green light to clean power," committed London to reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide by 20%, relative to the 1990 level, by 2010.
    More Details Hide Details Livingstone sought to remove the pigeons from Trafalgar Square; he tried to evict seed sellers and introduced hawks to scare the pigeons off. He pedestrianised the north side of the Square, transforming it into a public space with a cafe, public toilets, and a lift for the disabled. He introduced an annual Saint Patrick's Day festival to celebrate the contributions of the Irish to London, and revived London's free anti-racism music festival, now called Rise: London United, later attributing London's 35% decrease in racist attacks to this and other anti-racist policies.
  • 1987
    In September 1987 Livingstone was elected to Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC), although was voted off in October 1989, to be replaced by John Prescott.
    More Details Hide Details As Kinnock tried to pull Labour to the centre, Livingstone worked to strengthen socialist elements in the party.
    In his maiden speech to Parliament in July 1987, Livingstone used parliamentary privilege to raise a number of allegations made by Fred Holroyd, a former Special Intelligence Service operative in Northern Ireland.
    More Details Hide Details Despite the convention of maiden speeches being non-controversial, Livingstone alleged that Holroyd had been mistreated when he tried to expose MI5 collusion with Ulster loyalist paramilitaries in the 1970s. Thatcher denounced his claims as "utterly contemptible".
    Livingstone defeated Reg Freeson to represent Labour for the north-west London constituency of Brent East in the 1987 general election.
    More Details Hide Details When the election came, he narrowly defeated Conservative candidate Harriet Crawley to become Brent East's MP, while Thatcher retained the Premiership for a third term. Livingstone found the atmosphere of the Houses of Parliament uncomfortable, labeling it "absolutely tribal", and asserting that "It's like working in the Natural History Museum, except not all the exhibits are stuffed." There was much hostility between him and the Parliamentary Labour Party, who allocated him a windowless office with fellow leftist MP Harry Barnes. He took on Maureen Charleson as his personal secretary, who would remain with him for the next 20 years.
    Elected as MP for Brent East in 1987, he became closely associated with anti-racist campaigns.
    More Details Hide Details He unsuccessfully stood for Labour Party leader on a leftist platform in 1992 and 1994, and became a vocal critic of Tony Blair's New Labour project that pushed the party to the centre.
  • 1986
    The GLC was formally abolished at midnight on 31 March 1986, with Livingstone marking the occasion by holding a free concert at Festival Hall.
    More Details Hide Details In his capacity as former leader of the GLC, Livingstone was invited to visit Australia, Israel, and Zimbabwe in the following months by leftist groups in those countries, before he and Allen undertook a 5-week Himalayan trek to the base camp of Mount Everest.
  • 1984
    Livingstone and three senior GLC members resigned their seats in August 1984, to force byelections on the issue of abolition, but the Conservatives declined to contest them and all four were comfortably re-elected on a low turnout.
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  • 1983
    The government felt confident that there was sufficient opposition to Livingstone's administration that they could abolish the GLC: according to a MORI poll in April 1983, 58% of Londoners were dissatisfied and 26% satisfied with Livingstone.
    More Details Hide Details Attempting to fight the proposals, the GLC devoted £11 million to a campaign led by Reg Race focusing on press campaigning, advertising, and parliamentary lobbying. The campaign sent Livingstone on a party roadshow conference in which he convinced the Liberal and Social Democratic parties to oppose abolition. Using the slogan "say no to no say", they publicly highlighted that without the GLC, London would be the only capital city in Western Europe without a directly elected body. The campaign was successful, with polls indicating majority support among Londoners for retaining the Council, and in March 1984, 20,000 public servants held a 24-hour strike in support. The government nevertheless remained committed to abolition, and in June 1984 the House of Commons passed the Local Government Act 1985 with 237 votes in favour and 217 against.
    As Livingstone biographer Andrew Hosken remarked, "by far the most contentious grant" was given in February 1983 to a group called Babies Against the Bomb, founded by a group of mothers who had united to campaign against nuclear weapons.
    More Details Hide Details Members of the London Labour groups chastised Livingstone for his controversial statements, believing them detrimental to the party, leading Labour members and supporters to defect to the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Many highlighted Labour's failure to secure the seat in the Croydon North West by-election, 1981 as a sign of Labour's prospects under Livingstone. Some called for Livingstone's removal, but Michael Foot's Trotskyist assistant Una Cooze defended Livingstone's position to her boss. Television and radio outlets welcomed Livingstone on for interviews; described by biographer John Carvel as having "one of the best television styles of any contemporary politician", Livingstone used this medium to speak to a wider audience, gaining widespread public support, something Carvell attributed to his "directness, self-deprecation, colourful language, complete unflappability under fire and lack of pomposity", coupled with popular policies like Fares Fair. In the eyes of the government and the media, Livingstone started badly and got worse. Within eight months, he was in deep crisis and within two years, Margaret Thatcher had started the wheels in motion for abolition. Such was the backlash by judges, civil servants, politicians and journalists that Livingstone failed not only in the key objective of bringing down Thatcher but also in implementing many of his policies.
    In July 1983, Adams finally came to London on the invite of Livingstone and MP Jeremy Corbyn, allowing him to present his views to a mainstream British audience through televised interviews.
    More Details Hide Details In August, Livingstone was interviewed on Irish state radio, proclaiming that Britain's 800-year occupation of Ireland was more destructive than the Holocaust; he was publicly criticised by Labour members and the press. He also controversially expressed solidarity with the Marxist–Leninist government of Fidel Castro in Cuba against the U.S. economic embargo, in turn receiving an annual Christmas gift of Cuban rum from the Cuban embassy.
    In February 1983, Livingstone visited Adams in his constituency of West Belfast, receiving a hero's welcome from local republicans.
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  • 1982
    Courting further controversy, in the Falklands War of 1982, during which the United Kingdom battled Argentina for control of the Falkland Islands, Livingstone stated his belief that the islands rightfully belonged to the Argentinian people, but not the military junta then ruling the country.
    More Details Hide Details Upon British victory, he sarcastically remarked that "Britain had finally been able to beat the hell out of a country smaller, weaker and even worse governed than we were." Challenging the Conservative government's militarism, the GLC proclaimed 1983 to be "Peace Year", solidifying ties with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in order to advocate international nuclear disarmament, a measure opposed by the Thatcher government. In keeping with this pacifistic outlook, they banned the Territorial Army from marching past County Hall that year. The GLC then proclaimed 1984 to be "Anti-Racism Year". In July 1985, the GLC twinned London with the Nicaraguan city of Managua, then under the control of the socialist Sandinista National Liberation Front. The press also continued to criticise the Livingstone administration's funding of volunteer groups that they perceived represented only "fringe interests".
    Livingstone agreed to meet Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin President and IRA-supporter, after Adams was invited to London by Labour members of the Troops Out campaign in December 1982.
    More Details Hide Details The same day as the invitation was made, the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) bombed The Droppin Well bar in Ballykelly, County Londonderry, killing 11 soldiers and 6 civilians; in the aftermath, Livingstone was pressured to cancel the meeting. Expressing his horror at the bombing, Livingstone insisted that the meeting proceed, for Adams had no connection with the INLA, but Conservative Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw banned Adams' entry to Britain with the 1976 Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act.
    Moving into a small flat at 195 Randolph Avenue, Maida Vale with his pet reptiles and amphibians, he divorced in October 1982 and began a relationship with Kate Allen, chair of Camden Council Women's Committee.
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  • 1981
    The primary figurehead for this leftist trend was Tony Benn, who narrowly missed being elected deputy leader of Labour in September 1981, under new party leader Michael Foot.
    More Details Hide Details The head of the "Bennite left", Benn became "an inspiration and a prophet" to Livingstone; the two became the best known left-wingers in Labour.
    A supporter of Irish reunification, Livingstone had connections with the left-wing Irish republican party Sinn Féin and in July, met with the mother of an imprisoned Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) militant Thomas McElwee, then taking part in the 1981 Irish hunger strike.
    More Details Hide Details That day, Livingstone publicly proclaimed his support for those prisoners on hunger strike, claiming that the British government's fight against the IRA was not "some sort of campaign against terrorism" but was "the last colonial war." He was heavily criticised for this meeting and his statements in the mainstream press, while Prime Minister Thatcher claimed that his comments constituted "the most disgraceful statement I have ever heard." Soon after, he also met with the children of Yvonne Dunlop, an Irish Protestant who had been killed in McElwee's bomb attack. On 10 October, the IRA bombed London's Chelsea Barracks, killing 2 and injuring 40. Denouncing the attack, Livingstone informed members of the Cambridge University Tory Reform Group that it was a misunderstanding to view the IRA as "criminals or lunatics" because of their strong political motives and that "violence will recur again and again as long as we are in Ireland." Mainstream press criticised him for these comments, with The Sun labeling him "the most odious man in Britain". In response, Livingstone proclaimed that the press coverage had been "ill-founded, utterly out of context and distorted", reiterating his opposition both to IRA attacks and British rule in Northern Ireland. Anti-Livingstone pressure mounted and on 15 October he was publicly attacked in the street by members of unionist militia, The Friends of Ulster. In a second incident, Livingstone was attacked by far right skinheads shouting "commie bastard" at the Three Horseshoes Pub in Hampstead.
    In September 1981, Livingstone began production of weekly newspaper, the Labour Herald, co-edited with Ted Knight and Matthew Warburton.
    More Details Hide Details It was published by a press owned by the Trotskyist Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP), who had financed it with funding from Libya and Iraq. Livingstone's commercial relationship with WRP leader Gerry Healy was controversial among British socialists, many of whom disapproved of Healy's violent nature. The Labour Herald folded in 1985, when Healy was exposed as a sex offender and ousted from the WRP's leadership. Take a bow, Mr Livingstone, socialist leader of the Greater London Council. In just a few months since he appeared on the national scene, he has quickly become a joke. But no one can laugh at him any more. The joke has turned sour, sick and obscene.
    Invited to the Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul's Cathedral in July 1981, Livingstone – a republican critical of the monarchy – wished the couple well but turned down the offer.
    More Details Hide Details He also permitted Irish republican protesters to hold a vigil on the steps of County Hall throughout the wedding celebrations, both actions that enraged the press. His administration supported the People's March for Jobs, a demonstration of 500 anti-unemployment protesters who marched to London from Northern England, allowing them to sleep in County Hall and catering for them. Costing £19,000, critics argued that Livingstone was illegally using public money for his own political causes. The GLC orchestrated a propaganda campaign against Thatcher's government, in January 1982 erecting a sign on the top of County Hall – clearly visible from the Houses of Parliament – stating the number of unemployed in London.
    In July 1981, Livingstone founded the Ethnic Minorities Committee, the Police Committee, and the Gay and Lesbian Working Party, and in June 1982, a Women's Committee was also established.
    More Details Hide Details Believing the Metropolitan Police to be a racist organisation, he appointed Paul Boateng to head the Police Committee and monitor the force's activities. Considering the police a highly political organisation, he publicly remarked that "When you canvas police flats at election time, you find that they are either Conservatives who think of Thatcher as a bit of a pinko or they are National Front." The Conservatives and mainstream rightist press were largely critical of these measures, considering them symptomatic of what they derogatarily termed the "loony left". Claiming that these only served "fringe" interests, their criticisms often exhibited racist, homophobic and sexist sentiment. A number of journalists fabricated stories designed to discredit Livingstone and the "loony left", for instance claiming that the GLC made its workers drink only Nicaraguan coffee in solidarity with the country's socialist government, and that Haringey Council leader Bernie Grant had banned the use of the term "black bin liner" and the rhyme "Baa Baa Black Sheep" because they were perceived as racially insensitive. Writing in 2008, BBC reporter Andrew Hosken noted that although most of Livingstone's GLC administration's policies were ultimately a failure, its role in helping change social attitudes towards women and minorities in London remained its "enduring legacy".
    The Livingstone administration took a strong stance on the issue of nuclear disarmament, proclaiming London a "nuclear-free zone". On 20 May 1981, the GLC halted its annual spending of £1 million on nuclear war defence plans, with Livingstone's deputy, Illtyd Harrington, proclaiming that "we are challenging... the absurd cosmetic approach to Armageddon."
    More Details Hide Details They published the names of the 3000 politicians and administrators who had been earmarked for survival in underground bunkers in the event of a nuclear strike on London. Thatcher's government remained highly critical of these moves, putting out a propaganda campaign explaining their argument for the necessity of Britain's nuclear deterrent to counter the Soviet Union. Livingstone's administration advocated measures to improve the lives of minorities within London, who together made up a sizeable percentage of the city's population; what Reg Race called "the Rainbow Coalition". The GLC allocated a small percentage of its expenditure on funding minority community groups, including the London Gay Teenage Group, English Collective of Prostitutes, Women Against Rape, Lesbian Line, A Woman's Place, and Rights of Women. Believing these groups could initiate social change, the GLC increased its annual funding of voluntary organisations from £6 million in 1980 to £50 million in 1984. They provided loans to such groups, coming under a barrage of press criticism for awarding a loan to the Sheba Feminist Publishers, whose works were widely labelled pornographic.
    Entering County Hall as GLC leader on 8 May 1981, Livingstone initiated changes, converting the building's Freemasonic temple into a meeting room and removing many of the privileges enjoyed by GLC members and senior officers.
    More Details Hide Details He initiated an open-door policy allowing citizens to hold meetings in the committee rooms free of charge, with County Hall gaining the nickname of "the People's Palace". Livingstone took great pleasure watching the disgust expressed by some Conservative GLC members when non-members began using the building's restaurant. In the London Labour Briefing, Livingstone announced "London's ours! After the most vicious GLC election of all time, the Labour Party has won a working majority on a radical socialist programme." He stated that their job was to "sustain a holding operation until such time as the Tory Conservative government can be brought down and replaced by a left-wing Labour government." There was a perception among Livingstone's allies that they constituted the genuine opposition to Thatcher's government, with Foot's Labour leadership dismissed as ineffectual; they hoped Benn would soon replace him. As a socialist I started out with the lowest possible opinion of Fleet Street and was amazed to discover that they managed to sink even lower than I expected...
    Livingstone turned his attention to achieving a GLC Labour victory, exchanging his safe-seat in Hackney North for the marginal Inner London seat at Paddington; in May 1981 he won the seat by 2,397 votes.
    More Details Hide Details Cutler and the Conservatives learned of Livingstone's plans, proclaiming that a GLC Labour victory would lead to a Marxist takeover of London and then Britain; the rightist press picked up the story, with the Daily Express using the headline of "Why We Must Stop These Red Wreckers". Such scaremongering was ineffective, and the GLC election of May 1981 was a Labour victory, with McIntosh installed as Head of the GLC; within 24 hours he would be deposed by members of his own party, replaced by Livingstone. On 7 May, Livingstone called a caucus of his supporters; announcing his intent to challenge McIntosh's leadership, he invited those assembled to stand for other GLC posts. The meeting ended at 4:45pm having agreed on a full slate of candidates. At 5 o'clock, McIntosh held a GLC Labour meeting; the attendees called an immediate leadership election, in which Livingstone defeated him by 30 votes to 20. The entire left caucus slate was then elected. The next day, a leftist coup deposed Sir Ashley Bramall on the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA), replacing him with Bryn Davies; the left group now controlled both the GLC and the ILEA.
  • 1980
    In September 1980, Livingstone separated from his wife Christine, though they remained amicable.
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    When the time came to choose who would lead London Labour in that election, Livingstone put his name down, but was challenged by the moderate Andrew McIntosh; in the April 1980 vote, McIntosh beat Livingstone by 14 votes to 13.
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  • 1979
    Inspired by the Bennites, Livingstone planned a GLC take-over; on 18 October 1979, he called a meeting of Labour leftists entitled "Taking over the GLC", beginning publication of monthly newsletter the London Labour Briefing.
    More Details Hide Details Focused on increasing leftist power in the London Labour Party, he urged socialists to stand as candidates in the upcoming GLC election.
    In 1979, internal crisis rocked Labour as activist group, the Campaign for Labour Democracy, struggled with the Parliamentary Labour Party for a greater say in party management.
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  • 1978
    Livingstone joined the activists, on 15 July 1978 helping unify small hard left groups as the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory (SCLV).
    More Details Hide Details Producing a sporadically published paper, Socialist Organiser, as a mouthpiece for Livingstone's views, it criticised Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan as "anti-working class". In January 1979, Britain was hit by a series of public sector worker strikes that came to be known as the "Winter of Discontent." In Camden Borough, council employees unionised under the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) went on strike, demanding a 35-hour limit to their working week and a weekly wage increase to £60. Livingstone backed the strikers, urging Camden Council to grant their demands, eventually getting his way. District auditor Ian Pickwell, a government-appointed accountant who monitored council finances, claimed that this move was reckless and illegal, taking Camden Council to court. If found guilty, Livingstone would have been held personally responsible for the measure, forced to pay the massive surcharge, and been disqualified for public office for five years; ultimately the judge threw out the case.
  • 1977
    Turning towards the Houses of Parliament, Livingstone and Christine moved to West Hampstead, north London; in June 1977 he was selected by local party members as the Labour parliamentary candidate for the Hampstead constituency, beating Vince Cable.
    More Details Hide Details He gained notoriety in the Hampstead and Highgate Express for publicly reaffirming his support for the controversial issue of LGBT rights, declaring he supported the reduction of the age of consent for male same-sex activity from 21 to 16, in line with the different-sex age of consent. Becoming active in the politics of the London Borough of Camden, Livingstone was elected Chair of Camden's Housing Committee; putting forward radical reforms, he democratized council housing meetings by welcoming local people, froze rents for a year, reformed the rate collection system, changed rent arrears procedures and implemented further compulsory purchase orders to increase council housing. Criticised by some senior colleagues as incompetent and excessively ambitious, some accused him of encouraging leftists to move into the borough's council housing to increase his local support base.
    Coming up to the 1977 GLC elections, Livingstone recognised the difficulty of retaining his Norwood seat, instead being selected for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, a Labour safe seat, following the retirement of David Pitt.
    More Details Hide Details Accused of being a "carpetbagger", it ensured he was one of the few leftist Labour councillors to remain on the GLC, which fell into Conservative hands under Horace Cutler.
  • 1975
    Turning his attention once more to housing, he became Vice Chairman of the GLC's Housing Management Committee, however was sacked in April 1975 for his vocal opposition to the Goodwin administration's decision to cut £50,000,000 from the GLC's house-building budget.
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  • 1974
    With growing support from Labour leftists, in March 1974 he was elected onto the executive of the Greater London Labour Party (GLLP), responsible for drawing up the manifesto for the GLC Labour group and the lists of candidates for council and parliamentary seats.
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  • 1973
    Livingstone married Christine Pamela Chapman in 1973; the marriage ended in divorce in 1982.
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    Frustrated at the council's failure to achieve this, he resigned from the Housing Committee in December 1973.
    More Details Hide Details Considered a radical troublemaker by the GLC's Labour management, Livingstone was allocated the relatively unimportant position of Vice Chairman of the Film Viewing Board, monitoring the release of soft pornography. Like most Board members, Livingstone opposed cinematic censorship, a view he changed with the increasing availability of violent pornography.
    In August 1973, he publicly threatened to resign from the Lambeth Housing Committee if the council failed "to honour longstanding promises" to rehouse 76 homeless families then staying in dilapidated and overcrowded halfway accommodation.
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    In the 1973 GLC elections, he won the seat with 11,622 votes, a firm lead over his Conservative rival.
    More Details Hide Details Led by Reg Goodwin, the GLC was dominated by Labour, who controlled 57 seats, compared to 33 controlled by the Conservatives and 2 by the Liberal Party. Of the Labour GLC members, around 16, including Livingstone, were staunch leftists. Representing Norwood in the GLC, Livingstone continued as a Lambeth councillor and Vice Chairman of the Lambeth Housing Committee, criticising Lambeth council's dealings with the borough's homeless. Learning that the council had pursued a racist policy of allocating the best housing to white working-class families, Livingstone went public with the evidence, which was published in the South London Press.
    Beginning a romantic relationship with Christine Chapman, president of the PFTTC student's union, the couple married in 1973.
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  • 1972
    In June 1972, after a campaign orchestrated by Eddie Lopez, Livingstone was selected as the Labour candidate for Norwood in the Greater London Council (GLC).
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  • 1971
    In October 1971, Livingstone's father died of a heart attack; his mother soon moved to Lincoln.
    More Details Hide Details That year, Labour members voted Livingstone Vice-Chairman of the Housing Committee on the Lambeth London Borough Council, his first job in local government. Reforming the housing system, Livingstone and Committee Chairman Ewan Carr cancelled the proposed rent increase for council housing, temporarily halting the construction of Europe's largest tower blocks, and founded a Family Squatting Group to ensure that homeless families would be immediately rehoused through squatting in empty houses. He increased the number of compulsory purchase orders for private-rented properties, converting them to council housing. They faced opposition to their reforms, which were cancelled by central government. Livingstone and the leftists became embroiled in factional in-fighting within Labour, vying for powerful positions with centrist members. Although never adopting Marxism, Livingstone became involved with a number of Trotskyist groups active within Labour; viewing them as potential allies, he became friends with Chris Knight, Graham Bash and Keith Veness, members of the Socialist Charter, a Trotskyist cell affiliated with the Revolutionary Communist League that had infiltrated the Labour party. In his struggle against Labour centrists, Livingstone was influenced by Trotskyist Ted Knight, who convinced him to oppose the use of British troops in Northern Ireland, believing they would simply be used to quash nationalist protests against British rule. Livingstone stood as the leftist candidate for the Chair of the Lambeth Housing Committee in April 1973, but was defeated by David Stimpson, who undid many of Livingston and Carr's reforms.
    In 1971, Livingstone and his comrades developed a new strategy for obtaining political power in Lambeth borough.
    More Details Hide Details Focusing on campaigning for the marginal seats in the south of the borough, the safe Labour seats in the north were left to established party members. Public dissatisfaction with the Conservative government of Prime Minister Edward Heath led to Labour's best local government results since the 1940s; Labour leftists gained every marginal seat in Lambeth, and the borough returned to Labour control.
  • 1968
    Realising the Conservative governance of Lambeth Borough council was hard to unseat, Livingstone aided Eddie Lopez in reaching out to members of the local populace disenfranchised from the traditional Labour leadership. Associating with the leftist Schools' Action Union (SAU) founded in the wake of the 1968 student protests, he encouraged members of the Brixton branch of the Black Panther Party to join Labour.
    More Details Hide Details His involvement in the SAU led to his dismissal from the PFTCC student's union, who disagreed with politicising secondary school pupils. We were pushing ahead with our schemes. We had honoured our pledge that pensioners should travel free on London Transport buses. We introduced the provision of free contraception for anyone who lived or worked in the borough.
    Contrastingly, Livingstone believed that grassroots campaigning – such as the 1968 student protests – were ineffective, joining Labour because he considered it the best chance for implementing progressive political change in the UK.
    More Details Hide Details Joining his local Labour branch in Norwood, he involved himself in their operations, within a month becoming chair and secretary of the Norwood Young Socialists, gaining a place on the constituency's General Management and Executive Committees, and sitting on the Local Government Committee who prepared Labour's manifesto for the next borough election. Hoping for better qualifications, he attended night school, gaining O-levels in Human Anatomy, Physiology and Hygiene, and an A-level in Zoology. Leaving his job at Chester Beatty, in September 1970 he began a 3-year course at the Philippa Fawcett Teacher Training College (PFTTC) in Streatham; his attendance was poor, and he considered it "a complete waste" of time.
    Livingstone joined the Labour Party in March 1968, when he was 23 years old, later describing it as "one of the few recorded instances of a rat climbing aboard a sinking ship".
    More Details Hide Details At the time, many leftists were leaving in disgust at the Labour government's support for the U.S. in the Vietnam War, cuts to the National Health Service budget, and restrictions on trade unions; many went on to join far-left parties like the International Socialists and the Socialist Labour League, or single-issue groups like the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Child Poverty Action Group. Suffering mass electoral defeat at the local elections, in London, Labour lost 15 boroughs, including Livingstone's London Borough of Lambeth, which came under Conservative control.
    Born in Lambeth, South London, to a working-class family, Livingstone joined Labour in 1968 and was elected to represent Norwood at the GLC in 1973, Hackney North and Stoke Newington in 1977, and Paddington in 1981, when he was elected leader of the GLC by Labour members.
    More Details Hide Details Attempting to reduce London Underground fares, his plans were challenged in court and declared unlawful; more successful were his schemes to benefit women and underprivileged minorities, despite stiff opposition. Livingstone was heavily criticised in the mainstream media for supporting controversial issues like republicanism, LGBT rights, and a United Ireland, and given the moniker "Red Ken". Livingstone was a vocal opponent of the Conservative Party government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which in 1986 abolished the GLC.
  • 1966
    With a friend from Chester Beatty, Livingstone toured West Africa in 1966, visiting Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Lagos, Ghana and Togo.
    More Details Hide Details Interested in the region's wildlife, Livingstone rescued an infant ostrich from being eaten, donating it to Lagos children's zoo. Returning home, he took part in several protest marches as a part of the anti-Vietnam War movement, becoming increasingly interested in politics and briefly subscribing to the publication of a libertarian socialist group, Solidarity.
  • 1964
    Livingstone's leftist views solidified upon the election of Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1964.
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  • 1962
    From 1962–70, he worked as a technician at the Chester Beatty cancer research laboratory in Fulham, looking after animals used in experimentation.
    More Details Hide Details Most of the technicians were socialists, and Livingstone helped found a branch of the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs to fight redundancies imposed by company bosses.
  • 1958
    His interest in politics was furthered by the 1958 papal election of Pope John XXIII – a man who had "a strong impact" on Livingstone.
    More Details Hide Details At Tulse Hill Comprehensive he gained his interest in amphibians and reptiles, keeping several as pets; his mother worried that rather than focusing on school work all he cared about was "his pet lizard and friends". At school he attained four O-levels in English Literature, English Language, Geography and Art, subjects he later described as "the easy ones". He started work rather than stay on for the non-compulsory sixth form, which required six O-levels.
  • 1957
    In 1957, his family purchased their own property at 66 Wolfington Road, West Norwood.
    More Details Hide Details Rather shy at school, he was bullied, and got into trouble for truancy. One year, his form master was Philip Hobsbaum, who encouraged his pupils to debate current events, first interesting Livingstone in politics. He related that he became "an argumentative cocky little brat" at home, bringing up topics at the dinner table to enrage his father.
  • 1956
    Moving to a Tulse Hill council housing estate, Livingstone attended St. Leonard's Primary School, and after failing his 11-plus exam, in 1956 began secondary education at Tulse Hill Comprehensive School.
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  • 1945
    Livingstone was born in his grandmother's house in Lambeth, south London, on 17 June 1945.
    More Details Hide Details His family was working class; his mother, Ethel Ada (née Kennard, 1915–1997), had been born in Southwark before training as an acrobatic dancer and working on the music hall circuit prior to the Second World War. His Scottish father, Robert "Bob" Moffat Livingstone (1915–1971), had been born in Dunoon before joining the Merchant Navy in 1932 and becoming ship's master. Having first met in April 1940 at a music hall in Workington, they married within three months. After the war the couple moved in with Ethel's aggressive mother, Zona Ann (Williams), whom young Ken considered "tyrannical". Livingstone's sister Lin was born 2 years later. Robert and Ethel went through various jobs in the post-war years, with the former working on fishing trawlers and English Channel ferries, while the latter worked in a bakers, at Freemans catalogue dispatch and as a cinema usherette.
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