Ken Livingstone
Overview
Kenneth Robert "Ken" Livingstone (born 17 June 1945) is an English politician who is currently a member of the centrist to centre-left Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

. During his political career, he has twice held the leading political role in London local government
Local government in London
Local government in London takes place in two tiers; a city-wide, strategic tier and a local tier. City-wide administration is coordinated by the Greater London Authority , while local administration is carried out by 33 smaller authorities.-Upper tier:...

, firstly as Leader of the Greater London Council
Greater London Council
The Greater London Council was the top-tier local government administrative body for Greater London from 1965 to 1986. It replaced the earlier London County Council which had covered a much smaller area...

 from 1981 until the council was abolished in 1986, and secondly as the first elected Mayor of London
Mayor of London
The Mayor of London is an elected politician who, along with the London Assembly of 25 members, is accountable for the strategic government of Greater London. Conservative Boris Johnson has held the position since 4 May 2008...

, a post he held from its creation in 2000 until 2008.
Quotations

You cannot just have a socialist revolution in Norwood and nowhere else.

Statement to the South London Press in 1977 on moving constituencies away from Norwood in the 1977 GLC election. Quoted in Citizen Ken (1984) by John Carvel, p. 61

There is now a desperate need for a London-wide left caucus of those interested in the GLC and local councils so that we can compare and discuss what is happening in each borough.

As quoted in Socialist Organiser, the newspaper of the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory (March 1979)

I feel a degree of regret that Marshall did not push on and say 'Abolish the GLC', because I think it would be a major saving and would have released massive resources for more productive use.

In a Greater London Council|GLC debate on the Marshall Report into GLC powers, 1979, quoted in "Beyond Our Ken" (1985) by Andrew Forrester, Stewart Lansley and Robin Pauley, p. 43

The H-block protest is part of the struggle to bring about a free, united Ireland. They have my support, and they have the support of the majority of the Labour Party rank and file. I have been consistently in favour of withdrawal from Ireland and to get away from the idea that it is some sort of campaign against terrorism. It is in fact the last colonial war.

Evening Standard (21 July 1981)

I can't think of a more appalling contrast between this wedding beanfeast and what is happening in Ireland.

Referring to the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer, in Daily Mail (29 July 1981).

Everyone is bisexual. Almost everyone has the sexual potential for anything.

Speech to Harrow Gay Unity Group (18 August 1981)

He asked to see me again. I think he wants me for my body.

Remarks to the press after meeting Secretary of State for Transport Norman Fowler|Norman Fowler (18 June 1981), quoted in Citizen Ken (1984) by John Carvel, p. 107.

The next election will bring an influx of over 120 new MPs who will be overwhelmingly on the Left.

The Guardian (23 September 1985)

I take a much more pragmatic view than many people on the Left about working with Neil Kinnock. Kinnock represents the best vehicle possible for achieving socialism now.

Ham and High (21 February, 1986)

Encyclopedia
Kenneth Robert "Ken" Livingstone (born 17 June 1945) is an English politician who is currently a member of the centrist to centre-left Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

. During his political career, he has twice held the leading political role in London local government
Local government in London
Local government in London takes place in two tiers; a city-wide, strategic tier and a local tier. City-wide administration is coordinated by the Greater London Authority , while local administration is carried out by 33 smaller authorities.-Upper tier:...

, firstly as Leader of the Greater London Council
Greater London Council
The Greater London Council was the top-tier local government administrative body for Greater London from 1965 to 1986. It replaced the earlier London County Council which had covered a much smaller area...

 from 1981 until the council was abolished in 1986, and secondly as the first elected Mayor of London
Mayor of London
The Mayor of London is an elected politician who, along with the London Assembly of 25 members, is accountable for the strategic government of Greater London. Conservative Boris Johnson has held the position since 4 May 2008...

, a post he held from its creation in 2000 until 2008. He also served as a Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP) for Brent East between 1987 and 2001. He is currently standing as the Labour Party candidate in the London mayoral election, 2012
London mayoral election, 2012
The 2012 London mayoral election will be held on Thursday 3 May 2012 to elect the Mayor of London. It will be the fourth such election since the post of Mayor of London was started in 2000...

.

He became a Labour Party member in 1968 and was elected to represent Norwood
Norwood
- Australia :* Norwood Secondary College, Secondary School in Ringwood, Victoria.* Norwood, South Australia, suburb of Adelaide**Electoral district of Norwood, a state electoral district in South Australia...

 at the Greater London Council in 1973, before transferring to represent Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Hackney North and Stoke Newington is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.-History:...

 in 1977, and then to Paddington
Paddington
Paddington is a district within the City of Westminster, in central London, England. Formerly a metropolitan borough, it was integrated with Westminster and Greater London in 1965...

 in 1981. That year he also became the leader of the Council itself. His vocal opposition to the policies introduced by the right wing Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 government headed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

, coupled with his socialist beliefs, led to him gaining the moniker of "Red Ken" in the mainstream press. In 1986, the Conservative government abolished the Council, and so the following year Livingstone instead successfully stood for election as a Member of Parliament for Brent East.

In 1997, the Labour government established a new Greater London Authority
Greater London Authority
The Greater London Authority is the top-tier administrative body for Greater London, England. It consists of a directly elected executive Mayor of London, currently Boris Johnson, and an elected 25-member London Assembly with scrutiny powers...

 that would be controlled by a directly elected mayor. Despite the fact that Labour leader Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 opposed Livingstone and expelled him from the party, Livingstone still ran successfully for the post of London Mayor, being elected as an independent candidate in 2000. During his first term, he organised an upgrade of the London transport system and introduced the London congestion charge
London congestion charge
The London congestion charge is a fee charged for some categories of motor vehicle to travel at certain times within the Congestion Charge Zone , a traffic area in London. The charge aims to reduce congestion, and raise investment funds for London's transport system...

. He later rejoined the Labour Party, and was again elected mayor in 2004, following which he continued supporting and expanding such policies. In the 2008 mayoral elections, he was beaten by Conservative candidate Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a British journalist and Conservative Party politician, who has been the elected Mayor of London since 2008...

.

Considered to be on the left of the Labour Party, Livingstone considers himself a socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, and his mayorship was characterised for its support of social liberalism
Social liberalism
Social liberalism is the belief that liberalism should include social justice. It differs from classical liberalism in that it believes the legitimate role of the state includes addressing economic and social issues such as unemployment, health care, and education while simultaneously expanding...

. A polarising figure, Livingstone has been praised by the left for his support of socialist world leaders like Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez
Hugo Chávez
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías is the 56th and current President of Venezuela, having held that position since 1999. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela...

, but criticised by his opponents for extending official invitations to an Islamist scholar.

Childhood and young adulthood: 1945-1967

Ken Livingstone was born in his grandmother's house in Lambeth
Lambeth
Lambeth is a district of south London, England, and part of the London Borough of Lambeth. It is situated southeast of Charing Cross.-Toponymy:...

, London on 17 June 1945. His parents were working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

, and his mother, Ethel Ada (née Kennard, 1915–1997), had been born in nearby Southwark, before training as an acrobatic dancer and working on the music hall
Music hall
Music Hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment which was popular between 1850 and 1960. The term can refer to:# A particular form of variety entertainment involving a mixture of popular song, comedy and speciality acts...

 circuit prior to the Second World War. Ken's father, Robert 'Bob' Moffat Livingstone (1915–1971), was Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

, having been born in Dunoon
Dunoon
Dunoon is a resort town situated on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll, Scotland. It sits on the Firth of Clyde to the south of Holy Loch and to the west of Gourock.-Waterfront:...

, before joining the Merchant Navy
Merchant Navy
The Merchant Navy is the maritime register of the United Kingdom, and describes the seagoing commercial interests of UK-registered ships and their crews. Merchant Navy vessels fly the Red Ensign and are regulated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency...

 in 1932 and rising up to become ship's master. Having married in 1940, following the end of the war the couple moved in to live with Ethel's mother, Zona Kennard, a fierce and aggressive woman whom Livingstone would later describe as "tyrannical". Robert and Ethel went through various jobs in the post-war years, with the former working on both fishing trawlers and on ferries crossing the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

, whilst the latter gained employment in a bakers, at Freemans catalogue dispatch and as a cinema usherette.

Livingstone's family background was right wing, and he has described his parents as "working class Tories
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

", although despite this they also held socially liberal
Social liberalism
Social liberalism is the belief that liberalism should include social justice. It differs from classical liberalism in that it believes the legitimate role of the state includes addressing economic and social issues such as unemployment, health care, and education while simultaneously expanding...

 views, opposing racism and homophobia, something which was unusual for the time. Livingstone would only adopt the leftist views that would characterise the rest of his life when he began to feel optimistic about the new Labour Party government led by Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

 that was elected into power in 1964. The family was nominally Anglican, although Livingstone gave up his belief in Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 when he was eleven, instead becoming an atheist
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

.

After the family moved to a newly built housing estate in Tulse Hill
Tulse Hill
Tulse Hill is a district in the London Borough of Lambeth in South London, England. It lies to the south of Brixton, east of Brixton Hill, north of West Norwood and west of West Dulwich.-History:...

, Livingstone began attending St. Leonard's Primary School. Here, he failed his eleven plus
Eleven plus
In the United Kingdom, the 11-plus or Eleven plus is an examination administered to some students in their last year of primary education, governing admission to various types of secondary school. The name derives from the age group for secondary entry: 11–12 years...

 exam, and so in 1956 began his secondary education at Tulse Hill Comprehensive School
Tulse Hill School
Tulse Hill School was a large comprehensive school for boys in Upper Tulse Hill, in the London Borough of Lambeth in south London, England. The school spanned eight floors and had almost two thousand pupils. It opened in 1956 and closed in 1990. Notable alumni included Ken Livingstone, ex London...

, where being rather shy he was bullied, and got into trouble with the school authorities. It was at Tulse Hill Comprehensive that he first gained his interest in amphibians and reptiles, keeping several as pets, leading his mother Ethel to worry that rather than focusing on school work all he cared about was "his pet lizard and friends". Meanwhile, he attained four O-levels in English Literature, English Language, Geography and Art, the subjects that he later described as simply being "the easy ones". To stay on for sixth form
Sixth form
In the education systems of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and of Commonwealth West Indian countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Jamaica and Malta, the sixth form is the final two years of secondary education, where students, usually sixteen to eighteen years of age,...

 however, he had needed six O-levels, and so dropped out of school to look for work.

From 1962 through to 1970, Livingstone worked as a technician at the Chester Beatty cancer research
Cancer research
Cancer research is basic research into cancer in order to identify causes and develop strategies for prevention, diagnosis, treatments and cure....

 laboratory in Fulham
Fulham
Fulham is an area of southwest London in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, SW6 located south west of Charing Cross. It lies on the left bank of the Thames, between Putney and Chelsea. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London...

, where his job involved looking after those animals used in animal experimentation. It was here that he found most of the technicians were socialists, and first got involved in political activism, founding a branch of the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs
Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs
ASTMS - The Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs was a British trade union, created in 1969 when ASSET merged with the AScW under the leadership of joint general secretaries: Clive Jenkins of ASSET and John Dutton of the AScW.ASSET, the larger of the two...

 to fight staff redundancies being imposed by the company's bosses. With a friend he had met at Chester Beatty, Livingstone went on a tour of Africa in 1966, visiting Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana and Togo. Returning home, he took part in several protest marches as a part of the anti-Vietnam War movement, becoming increasingly interested in politics.

Political activism: 1968-1970

Livingstone joined the Labour Party in March 1968, when he was 23 years old. He would later describe it as "one of the few recorded instances of a rat climbing aboard a sinking ship", for at the time many socialist activists who were party members were leaving in disgust at the policies being implemented by Harold Wilson's Labour government, which included supporting the United States in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, implementing budget cuts to the National Health Service
National Health Service
The National Health Service is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom. They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use to residents of the United Kingdom...

 and introducing both anti-trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 laws and immigration policies perceived to be racist in nature. After abandoning Labour, many of these activists went on to join explicitly socialist (and in most cases Trotskyist
Trotskyism
Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party of the working-class...

) parties like the International Socialists and the Socialist Labour League, as well as single-issue groups like the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an anti-nuclear organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

 and the Child Poverty Action Group
Child Poverty Action Group
Child Poverty Action Group is a UK charity that works to alleviate poverty and social exclusion.The stated aims of the CPAG are:CPAG programs include:* Research and publish the latest facts and figures of family and child poverty in the UK...

. There was also wider dissatisfaction with Labour across the general populace, and the party suffered mass electoral defeats at the local elections. In London, 15 boroughs were lost from Labour's control, including Livingstone's own London Borough of Lambeth
London Borough of Lambeth
The London Borough of Lambeth is a London borough in south London, England and forms part of Inner London. The local authority is Lambeth London Borough Council.-Origins:...

.

Despite this, Livingstone believed that grassroots socialist campaigning, such as the student protests that were going on globally at the time
Protests of 1968
The protests of 1968 consisted of a worldwide series of protests, largely participated in by students and workers.-Background:Background speculations of overall causality vary about the political protests centering on the year 1968. Some argue that protests could be attributed to the social changes...

, were not achieving results, and that "those who wanted to see change could not ignore the traditional parties of the left which gave us access to the levels of power". For this reason he joined Labour, believing that it could be reformed from within to adopt a more socialist platform, and considering the party to be the best chance for implementing progressive political change in the United Kingdom.

Members of his local Labour Party branch in Norwood
Norwood (UK Parliament constituency)
Norwood was a parliamentary constituency in South London which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom by the first past the post system.-History:...

 were surprised by the fact that Livingstone had joined them considering the general disenchantment with the party amongst British socialists and other leftists at the time. He soon got involved in the party's local operations, and within a month had become chair and secretary of the Norwood Young Socialists, had gained a place on the constituency's General Management and Executive Committees and was on the Local Government Committee, whose job it was to prepare the Labour manifesto for the next borough election. Meanwhile, after leaving his job at the Chester Beatty laboratory, in September 1970 he also began taking a course at the Philippa Fawcett teacher training college in Streatham
Streatham
Streatham is a district in Surrey, England, located in the London Borough of Lambeth. It is situated south of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.-History:...

. It was here that he began a romantic relationship with Christine Chapman, the president of the student's union.

Realising that the Conservative Party governance of Lambeth Borough council would be hard to defeat in an election, Livingstone and other Labour activists, centred around party agent Eddie Lopez, began the task of reaching out to those members of the local populace who were disenfranchised from the traditional Labour leadership. As a part of this, Livingstone began associating with the leftist Schools' Action Union (SAU) which had been founded in the wake of the 1968 student protests, as well as the Brixton
Brixton
Brixton is a district in the London Borough of Lambeth in south London, England. It is south south-east of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London....

 branch of the socialist Black Panther Party
Black Panther Party
The Black Panther Party wasan African-American revolutionary leftist organization. It was active in the United States from 1966 until 1982....

, encouraging their members to join Labour. His involvement in the SAU however led to him being dismissed from his involvement with the Philippa Fawcett training college student's union, who disagreed with his attempts to politicise and unionise secondary school pupils.

Lambeth Housing Committee: 1971-1973

In 1971, Livingstone and his fellow socialist members of the local Labour branches developed a new strategy for obtaining political power in Lambeth borough. They focused on campaigning to get elected in the marginal seats that were found in the south of the borough, whilst the safe Labour seats in the north were left to either established or right wing, capitalist members of the party. Public dissatisfaction with the recently elected Conservative government of Prime Minister Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

 led to Labour achieving its best local government results since the 1940s, with the Labour leftists successfully gaining every one of the marginal seats in Lambeth, and the borough was returned from Conservative to Labour hands.

Later that year, Livingstone, then aged 25, was voted by his fellow Labour Party members to the position of Vice-Chairman of the Housing Committee on the Lambeth London Borough Council
Lambeth London Borough Council
Lambeth London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Lambeth in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in the United Kingdom capital of London...

, his first actual job in local government. In this position, Livingstone, along with the Committee Chairman Ewan Carr, set about cancelling the proposed rent increase which the Conservative government wished to force onto those living in council housing, temporarily halted the project that would have seen Europe's tallest residential tower blocks built in the borough, and implemented plans that would have meant that homeless families had to be immediately rehoused, even if it meant allowing them to squat
Squatting
Squatting consists of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied space or building, usually residential, that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have permission to use....

 in empty houses. However, Carr and Livingstone faced much opposition to these plans, and the latter would later relate that "the council bureaucracy... stood in the way of the implementation of our policies", which were subsequently "finally buried by a fatal blow from [the Conservative-led] central government."

Livingstone and other socialists soon became embroiled in the factional in-fighting within Labour, as they vied for powerful positions with capitalist members on the right of the party. In this struggle, Livingstone was influenced by Ted Knight, a Trotskyist who convinced him to oppose the 1972 Housing Finance Act that would force those living in council accommodation to pay higher rents, and to oppose the sending of British Army troops into Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 (then in the midst of The Troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

 between nationalist and loyalist communities), which Knight, and subsequently Livingstone, believed would simply be used to quash nationalist protests against British rule in the country. Livingstone would go on to stand as the leftist candidate to become Chair of the Lambeth Housing Committee in April 1973, but was defeated by David Stimpson
David Stimpson
David Stimpson was a British Labour Party politician, who was on the right of the party. In April 1973, he was elected to the position of Chair of the Lambeth Housing Committee, defeating Ken Livingstone to the position.-Bibliography:Books...

, who was on the right of the Labour Party. Stimpson and his supporters had gained majority control in the Committee, and set about restoring "the normal protocol and respect for the formal hierarchy which had been subverted in the initial radicalism of the new Council", for instance undermining the Family Squatting Group that Carr and Livingstone had helped set up.

Early years on the Greater London Council: 1973-1980

At the 1973 elections
Greater London Council election, 1973
The fourth election to the Greater London Council was held on April 12, 1973. Labour, benefiting both from the unpopularity of the Conservative GLC's transport policy and from the difficulties of the national Conservative government, won a very large majority of 58 seats to 32 for the...

 Livingstone won the Norwood seat on the Greater London Council
Greater London Council
The Greater London Council was the top-tier local government administrative body for Greater London from 1965 to 1986. It replaced the earlier London County Council which had covered a much smaller area...

 (GLC) and served as Vice-Chair of Housing Management in 1974-1975 before being dismissed when he opposed spending cuts urged by council leader Sir Reg Goodwin
Reg Goodwin
Sir Reginald Eustace Goodwin was a British politician. He was Leader of the Greater London Council from 1973-77. On the moderate wing of the Labour Party, he nonetheless favoured public control of utilities.-Family background:Goodwin was from a middle-class family of five and was born in Streatham...

. He also served on the film censorship committee and urged the abolition of censorship. Coming up to the 1977 elections
Greater London Council election, 1977
Turnout: 2,242,064 people voted-References:*...

, Livingstone realised that it would be difficult to retain his seat and managed to be selected for Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Hackney North and Stoke Newington is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.-History:...

, a safe seat, following the retirement of Dr David Pitt
David Pitt, Baron Pitt of Hampstead
David Thomas Pitt, Baron Pitt of Hampstead was a civil rights campaigner and was one of the first persons of African descent to sit in the British House of Lords.-Early life:...

. This ensured that he was one of the few left-wing Labour councillors to remain on the council.

Livingstone had been selected as the Labour Parliamentary candidate for the Hampstead constituency
Hampstead (UK Parliament constituency)
Hampstead was a borough constituency, centered on the Hampstead area of North London. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, who was elected using the first-past-the-post voting system....

. He moved to Camden
London Borough of Camden
In 1801, the civil parishes that form the modern borough were already developed and had a total population of 96,795. This continued to rise swiftly throughout the 19th century, as the district became built up; reaching 270,197 in the middle of the century...

 just before the deadline to stand for the borough council in 1978, and was elected there. Livingstone became Chair of Camden's Housing Committee. In the 1979 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1979
The United Kingdom general election of 1979 was held on 3 May 1979 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher ousted the incumbent Labour government of James Callaghan with a parliamentary majority of 43 seats...

, Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 incumbent Geoffrey Finsberg
Geoffrey Finsberg
Geoffrey Finsberg, Baron Finsberg, MBE, JP was a British Conservative politician.Finsberg was educated at the City of London School and was a 'Bevin Boy' 1945-47. From a young age he was active in the Conservative Party and was founder chairman of Mansfield Young Conservatives 1946-47...

 defeated Livingstone in Hampstead by a margin of 3,681 votes.

GLC leadership: 1981-1986

When Sir Reg Goodwin
Reg Goodwin
Sir Reginald Eustace Goodwin was a British politician. He was Leader of the Greater London Council from 1973-77. On the moderate wing of the Labour Party, he nonetheless favoured public control of utilities.-Family background:Goodwin was from a middle-class family of five and was born in Streatham...

 retired as leader of the Labour group on the GLC in 1980, Livingstone had performed surprisingly well in a leadership election to succeed him but still lost to the moderate Andrew McIntosh
Andrew McIntosh, Baron McIntosh of Haringey
Andrew Robert McIntosh, Baron McIntosh of Haringey PC was a British Labour politician and last elected Principal of the Working Men's College....

. In the GLC election of 7 May 1981, Livingstone moved to the marginal constituency of Paddington
Paddington
Paddington is a district within the City of Westminster, in central London, England. Formerly a metropolitan borough, it was integrated with Westminster and Greater London in 1965...

. The Labour Party narrowly won control, having been led through the campaign by McIntosh who said that he would not be deposed. The day after the election, Livingstone challenged McIntosh for the leadership, and defeated him by 30 votes to 20. This was the culmination of a long process in which the left-wing of the party had organised to ensure its members were selected as GLC candidates, and all voted as a block within the Labour Party. They had also ensured that they had control of the Labour manifesto for the election.

The GLC then reduced London Bus and London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

 fares, paid for by a special 'supplementary rate' in a policy known as 'Fares Fair'. Although the measure was generally popular and led to an increase in the use of public transport, it was challenged by the Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

-controlled Bromley Council
London Borough of Bromley
The London Borough of Bromley is a London borough of south east London, England and forms part of Outer London. The principal town in the borough is Bromley.-Geography:...

 where there were no London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

 stations, and struck down as unlawful by the Law Lords in December, 1981. The new system of flat fares within ticket zones
London Underground ticketing
The London Underground metro system of London, England uses a mix of paper and electronic smart-card ticketing.-Fare zones:London Underground uses Transport for London's Travelcard zones to calculate fares, including fares for use on the Underground only...

, and the inter-modal Travelcard
Travelcard
The Travelcard is an inter-modal travel ticket for unlimited use on the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway, Tramlink, London Buses and National Rail services in the Greater London area. Travelcards can be purchased for a period of time varying from one day to a year,...

 ticket, was retained and continues as the basis of the ticketing system.

Despite his defeat in the fares pricing battle, Livingstone would remain a thorn in the Conservatives' side, openly antagonising Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

's government by posting a billboard of London's rising unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 figures on the roof of County Hall
County Hall, London
County Hall is a building in Lambeth, London, which was the headquarters of London County Council and later the Greater London Council . The building is on the bank of the River Thames, just north of Westminster Bridge, facing west toward the City of Westminster, and close to the Palace of...

, the GLC headquarters, directly across the Thames from the Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

. Under Livingstone, the GLC pursued a variety of unconventional and controversial measures: sponsoring an 'Antiracist Year,' providing city grants to such groups as 'Babies Against the Bomb', and declaring London a 'nuclear-free zone
Nuclear-free zone
A nuclear-free zone is an area where nuclear weapons and nuclear power are banned. The specific ramifications of these depend on the locale in question....

'.

Livingstone made perhaps his most controversial move in December 1982, when the GLC extended an official invitation to the leaders of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

. In the event the leaders, Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams is an Irish republican politician and Teachta Dála for the constituency of Louth. From 1983 to 1992 and from 1997 to 2011, he was an abstentionist Westminster Member of Parliament for Belfast West. He is the president of Sinn Féin, the second largest political party in Northern...

 and Danny Morrison
Danny Morrison (republican)
Daniel Gerard Morrison , known generally as Danny Morrison is an Irish republican writer and activist...

 were denied entry into the mainland under the Prevention of Terrorism Act
Prevention of Terrorism Act (Northern Ireland)
The Prevention of Terrorism Acts were a series of Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1974 to 1989 that conferred emergency powers upon police forces where they suspected terrorism....

 and they met Livingstone in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 instead. After meeting him, Livingstone said that Britain's treatment of the Irish over the last 800 years had been worse than Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's treatment of Jews. For his opinions on Ireland, The Sun
The Sun (newspaper)
The Sun is a daily national tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and owned by News Corporation. Sister editions are published in Glasgow and Dublin...

newspaper called Livingstone "the most odious man in Britain". It also made him a potential target for Ulster loyalists
Ulster loyalism
Ulster loyalism is an ideology that is opposed to a united Ireland. It can mean either support for upholding Northern Ireland's status as a constituent part of the United Kingdom , support for Northern Ireland independence, or support for loyalist paramilitaries...

: in 2003 it was revealed in Michael Stone's
Michael Stone (loyalist paramilitary)
Michael Stone is a Northern Irish loyalist who was a volunteer in the Ulster Defence Association . Stone was born in England but raised in the Braniel estate in East Belfast, Northern Ireland. Convicted of killing three people and injuring more than sixty in an attack on mourners at Milltown...

 autobiography that there was an Ulster Defence Association
Ulster Defence Association
The Ulster Defence Association is the largest although not the deadliest loyalist paramilitary and vigilante group in Northern Ireland. It was formed in September 1971 and undertook a campaign of almost twenty-four years during "The Troubles"...

 plot to kill Livingstone while on the Tube, though it came to nothing as the UDA agent (revealed in 2006 to be Stone himself) became convinced the security forces were on to him.

Such actions made Livingstone a favourite target for the press. He acquired the nickname 'Red Ken' and Private Eye
Private Eye
Private Eye is a fortnightly British satirical and current affairs magazine, edited by Ian Hislop.Since its first publication in 1961, Private Eye has been a prominent critic and lampooner of public figures and entities that it deemed guilty of any of the sins of incompetence, inefficiency,...

dubbed Livingstone 'Leninspart' (after their character Dave Spart), partly in response to his earlier toppling of McIntosh. However, Livingstone favoured European integration
European integration
European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic integration of states wholly or partially in Europe...

 and proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

, neither of which were particularly popular causes among the British left at that time. When several Labour councils (including Militant
Militant Tendency
The Militant tendency was an entrist group within the British Labour Party based around the Militant newspaper that was first published in 1964...

-controlled Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

) protested
Rate-capping rebellion
The rate-capping rebellion was a campaign within English local councils in 1985 which aimed to force the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher to withdraw powers to restrict the spending of councils. The affected councils were almost all run by left-wing Labour Party leaderships...

 against the government's rate-capping policy by refusing to set a property tax rate, Livingstone refused to join the campaign because he knew the GLC could run its services while keeping within capping limits. The GLC had lost all central government grants by 1983. Many on the left regarded Livingstone as having sabotaged the campaign and it led to a personal rift with John McDonnell
John McDonnell (politician)
John Martin McDonnell is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington since 1997; he serves as Chair of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Labour Representation Committee, and the "Public Services Not Private Profit Group"...

, who had been finance chairman and deputy leader. Livingstone's preference for practical politics, which was being demonstrated at a time when the rest of the Labour left were more interested in theoretical debates, may in part explain why his popularity grew . Other politicians identified as the 'hard left
Hard left
Hard left is a name often given to an internal tendency within the British Labour Party. Similar terminology is used also in the context of the Australian Labor Party....

', such as Tony Benn
Tony Benn
Anthony Neil Wedgwood "Tony" Benn, PC is a British Labour Party politician and a former MP and Cabinet Minister.His successful campaign to renounce his hereditary peerage was instrumental in the creation of the Peerage Act 1963...

, found themselves increasingly isolated from the general public.

The Conservative Party won the 1983 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1983
The 1983 United Kingdom general election was held on 9 June 1983. It gave the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher the most decisive election victory since that of Labour in 1945...

 with a large majority, and forged ahead with their long-standing plan to abolish the GLC and devolve
Devolution
Devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to government at a subnational level, such as a regional, local, or state level. Devolution can be mainly financial, e.g. giving areas a budget which was formerly administered by central government...

 control to the individual borough
Borough
A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely....

s. The GLC mounted a massive and expensive campaign to 'save London's democracy,' while the proposed abolition bill faced opposition from politicians on all sides, including the former Conservative Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

, who had introduced the six other Labour-controlled metropolitan councils which were also to be abolished. On 2 August 1984, Livingstone and three other Labour councillors resigned, forcing by-election
By-election
A by-election is an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections....

s that they intended to serve as a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 on the abolition issue. John Wilson
John Wilson (British politician)
John Wilson was a Labour Party member of the Greater London Council from May 1977 until the council was abolished in 1986. He was Chief Whip of the Labour group in 1984 when Ken Livingstone resigned from the GLC to force a by-election aimed at showing the popularity of the GLC. Wilson acted as...

, the Labour Chief Whip, served temporarily as Council Leader. However, the Conservatives chose not to contest the by-elections, and the voter turnout was smaller than Livingstone had hoped for. On 15 December 1984, the House of Commons passed the Local Government Act 1985
Local Government Act 1985
The Local Government Act 1985 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom. Its main effect was to abolish the county councils of the metropolitan counties that had been set up in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972, along with the Greater London Council that had been established in 1965.The...

 by a relatively slim 23-vote margin. The GLC was formally abolished at midnight on 31 March 1986.

Member of Parliament for Brent East: 1987-2001

Livingstone stood for Parliament in the 1987 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1987
The United Kingdom general election of 1987 was held on 11 June 1987, to elect 650 members to the British House of Commons. The election was the third consecutive election victory for the Conservative Party under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, who became the first Prime Minister since the 2nd...

, winning a seat in the north-west London constituency of Brent East. He replaced Labour MP Reg Freeson. Freeson had retained his seat at the 1983 general election, but was deselected in 1985 after a bitter struggle, described as "political 'murder'" in his Guardian obituary, and replaced as Labour candidate in Brent East by Livingstone.

In his maiden speech
Maiden speech
A maiden speech is the first speech given by a newly elected or appointed member of a legislature or parliament.Traditions surrounding maiden speeches vary from country to country...

 to Parliament in July 1987, Livingstone used parliamentary privilege
Parliamentary privilege
Parliamentary privilege is a legal immunity enjoyed by members of certain legislatures, in which legislators are granted protection against civil or criminal liability for actions done or statements made related to one's duties as a legislator. It is common in countries whose constitutions are...

 to raise a number of allegations made by Fred Holroyd
Fred Holroyd
Captain Frederick John Holroyd was a British soldier who was based at the British Army's 3 Brigade HQ in mid-Ulster, Northern Ireland during the 1970s. He enlisted as a gunner in the Royal Artillery, and three years later, in 1964, he was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps...

, a former Special Intelligence Service
Special Intelligence Service
The Special Intelligence Service was a covert counterintelligence branch of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation located in South America during World War II. It was established during the term of U.S. President Franklin D...

 operative in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. Despite the convention of maiden speeches being non-controversial, Livingstone alleged that Holroyd had been mistreated when he tried to expose MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 collusion
Collusion
Collusion is an agreement between two or more persons, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage...

 with Ulster loyalist paramilitaries in the 1970s and the part Captain Robert Nairac
Robert Nairac
Captain Robert Laurence Nairac GC was a British Army officer who was abducted from a pub in south County Armagh during an undercover operation and killed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army on his fourth tour of duty in Northern Ireland as a Military Intelligence Liaison Officer...

 is alleged to have played. He also voiced Colin Wallace
Colin Wallace
John Colin Wallace is a former British soldier and psychological warfare operative who was one of the members of the 'Clockwork Orange' project, which is alleged to have been an attempt to smear a number of British politicians in the early 1970s.-Early life:...

's allegations of MI5 dirty tricks levelled at Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

, part of what became known as the "Wilson plot
Harold Wilson conspiracy theories
Since the mid-1970s, a variety of conspiracy theories have emerged centering on British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson. These range from Wilson having been a Soviet agent, to Wilson being the victim of counter-espionage plots by members of the civil service....

".

In September 1987 he was elected to the party's National Executive Committee
National Executive Committee
The National Executive Committee or NEC is the chief administrative body of the UK Labour Party. Its composition has changed over the years, and includes representatives of affiliated trade unions, the Parliamentary Labour Party and European Parliamentary Labour Party, Constituency Labour Parties,...

, although he lost this position two years later; he regained it in 1997 beating Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson
Peter Benjamin Mandelson, Baron Mandelson, PC is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Hartlepool from 1992 to 2004, served in a number of Cabinet positions under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and was a European Commissioner...

 in what some interpreted as a rebuke to Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

. He was re-elected MP in the general election of 1992
United Kingdom general election, 1992
The United Kingdom general election of 1992 was held on 9 April 1992, and was the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party. This election result was one of the biggest surprises in 20th Century politics, as polling leading up to the day of the election showed Labour under leader Neil...

, with a 6% swing
Swing (politics)
An electoral swing analysis shows the extent of change in voter support from one election to another. It is an indicator of voter support for individual candidates or political parties, or voter preference between two or more candidates or parties...

 to Labour in his Brent East constituency. Besides serving in the Commons, Livingstone held a number of other 'odd jobs' during this period, including game show
Game show
A game show is a type of radio or television program in which members of the public, television personalities or celebrities, sometimes as part of a team, play a game which involves answering questions or solving puzzles usually for money and/or prizes...

 contestant and host, after-dinner speaker, and restaurant reviewer for the Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

. In 1987, he published his autobiography
Autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

-cum-political tract, If Voting Changed Anything They'd Abolish It.

First Mayoral Term: 2000-2004

Livingstone was again re-elected in the 1997 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

, in which Labour was returned to power under the leadership of Tony Blair. Among Labour's proposals was the establishment of a Greater London Authority
Greater London Authority
The Greater London Authority is the top-tier administrative body for Greater London, England. It consists of a directly elected executive Mayor of London, currently Boris Johnson, and an elected 25-member London Assembly with scrutiny powers...

 which was to be a strategic body: unlike the GLC the Greater London Authority would not provide any services to Londoners directly. The new Greater London Authority would be headed by a directly elected mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

, who would be watched over by a 25-member Assembly.

Despite having earlier criticised the specific proposals for a new London-wide authority, Livingstone was widely tipped for the new post of Mayor. The mayoral election was scheduled for 2000, and in 1999, Labour began the long and trying process of selecting its candidate. Despite Blair's personal antipathy, Livingstone was included on Labour's shortlist in November 1999, having pledged that he would not run as an independent if he failed to secure the party's nomination. William Hague
William Hague
William Jefferson Hague is the British Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State. He served as Leader of the Conservative Party from June 1997 to September 2001...

, then-Leader of the Opposition taunted Blair at Prime Minister's Question Time: "Why not split the job in two, with Frank Dobson
Frank Dobson
Frank Gordon Dobson, is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Holborn and St. Pancras since 1979...

 as your day mayor and Ken Livingstone as your nightmare?"

Labour chose its official candidate on 20 February 2000. Although Livingstone received a healthy majority of the total votes, he nevertheless lost the nomination to former Secretary of State for Health
Secretary of State for Health
Secretary of State for Health is a UK cabinet position responsible for the Department of Health.The first Boards of Health were created by Orders in Council dated 21 June, 14 November, and 21 November 1831. In 1848 a General Board of Health was created with the First Commissioner of Woods and...

 Frank Dobson
Frank Dobson
Frank Gordon Dobson, is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Holborn and St. Pancras since 1979...

, under a controversial system in which votes from sitting Labour MPs
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 and MEPs
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

 were weighted more heavily than votes from rank-and-file members. On 6 March, Livingstone announced that he would run against Dobson as an independent, confirming speculation that he would renege on his earlier pledge. He was suspended from the Labour Party the same day and expelled on 4 April. Tony Blair said that Livingstone as mayor would be a "disaster" for London; he later said he was wrong in that prediction.

The result of the election
London mayoral election, 2000
The first election to the office of Mayor of London took place on 4 May 2000.-Results:¹Under the Supplementary Vote system, if no candidate receives 50% of 1st choice votes, 2nd choice votes are added to the result for the top two 1st choice candidates...

 was a Livingstone victory: Dobson, who it was alleged, had been pressured into running by the party leadership, unsuccessfully based his campaign on claims that Livingstone was an egomaniac, and the Conservatives remained becalmed after their catastrophic national defeat in 1997. Livingstone came out ahead in the first round of balloting with 38% of first-preference votes to Conservative Steven Norris
Steven Norris
Steven John Norris is a British Conservative politician. He was the official Conservative candidate for Mayor of London in 2000 and 2004, losing in both races to Ken Livingstone....

's 27%; Dobson finished third, with 13% of all first-preference votes — just ahead of Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

 Susan Kramer
Susan Kramer
Susan Veronica Kramer, Baroness Kramer is a British Liberal Democrat politician. She was Member of Parliament for Richmond Park from 2005 to 2010, having been an unsuccessful candidate in the London mayoral election in 2000....

, with 12%. Under the supplementary voting system employed for the election, only the votes cast for Livingstone and Norris were considered in the second round, where Livingstone won with 58% of first- and second-preference votes, versus 42% for Norris.

Livingstone continued to sit in parliament, as an independent (having had the Labour whip withdrawn), until standing down at the 2001 general election
United Kingdom general election, 2001
The United Kingdom general election, 2001 was held on Thursday 7 June 2001 to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. It was dubbed "the quiet landslide" by the media, as the Labour Party was re-elected with another landslide result and only suffered a net loss of 6 seats...

.

Second Mayoral Term: 2004-2008

Livingstone applied for readmittance to the Labour Party in 2002 but was rejected. In November 2003, however, rumours emerged that the Labour Party would allow Livingstone to rejoin, just ahead of the 2004 London mayoral election
London mayoral election, 2004
The 2004 election to the post of Mayor of London took place on 10 June 2004. It was being held on the same day as other local elections and the UK part of the 2004 European Parliament elections, so Londoners had a total of five votes on three ballot papers. Polling opened at 07:00 local time, and...

. Opinion polls consistently gave a poor showing to Labour's official candidate, Nicky Gavron
Nicky Gavron
Felicia Nicolette C. "Nicky" Gavron, née Coates is a British politician, former Deputy Mayor of London, a member of the London Assembly and the former Labour candidate for the 2004 Mayor of London elections.- Biography :...

, and many in the party leadership (including Tony Blair himself) feared that Labour would be humiliated by a fourth-place finish. In mid-December, Gavron announced she would stand down as the Labour candidate in favour of a 'unity campaign,' with Gavron as Livingstone's deputy, with Labour's National Executive Committee
National Executive Committee
The National Executive Committee or NEC is the chief administrative body of the UK Labour Party. Its composition has changed over the years, and includes representatives of affiliated trade unions, the Parliamentary Labour Party and European Parliamentary Labour Party, Constituency Labour Parties,...

 voting 25-2 to pave the way for Livingstone's readmittance. The deal hinged on a 'loyalty test' administered by a special five-member NEC panel on 9 January. The panel recommended that Livingstone be allowed back in the party. The move towards readmittance came amid considerable opposition from senior party members, including Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

 Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott
John Prescott
John Leslie Prescott, Baron Prescott is a British politician who was Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007. Born in Prestatyn, Wales, he represented Hull East as the Labour Member of Parliament from 1970 to 2010...

, and former party leader Neil Kinnock
Neil Kinnock
Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock is a Welsh politician belonging to the Labour Party. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until 1995 and as Labour Leader and Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition from 1983 until 1992 - his leadership of the party during nearly nine years making him...

. In a ballot of Labour Party members in London, Livingstone was overwhelmingly endorsed as the Labour candidate for the 2004 Mayoral election.

Livingstone was re-elected Mayor of London on 10 June 2004. He won 36% of first preference votes to Conservative Steven Norris's 28% and Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes
Simon Hughes
Simon Henry Ward Hughes is a British politician and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats. He is Member of Parliament for the constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark. Until 2008 he was President of the Liberal Democrats...

's 15%. Six other candidates shared the remainder of the votes. 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%.

Post-mayoral career: 2008-present

Livingstone sought re-election in 2008, but was defeated by Conservative candidate Boris Johnson on a night that saw a huge swing against Labour right across Britain. Once first and second votes were taken into account Johnson had 1,168,738 votes, Livingstone 1,028,966 - a margin of 139,772 votes or just over 6% of those who voted.

Speaking immediately after the count, Johnson paid public tribute to his defeated rival, praising "the very considerable achievements of the last mayor of London" and describing Livingstone as "a very considerable public servant". Johnson went on to say "You shaped the office of mayor. You gave it national prominence and when London was attacked on 7 July 2005 you spoke for London." Johnson also spoke of Livingstone's "courage and the sheer exuberant nerve with which you stuck it to your enemies" and expressed a desire that the new Conservative administration could "discover a way in which the mayoralty can continue to benefit from your transparent love of London".

Livingstone acted as a stand-in presenter on London talk radio station LBC 97.3
LBC 97.3
LBC 97.3 is a London-based talk and phone-in radio station. It is one half of the latest incarnation of LBC, the news and speech service which was Britain's first commercial radio station when it went on air in October 1973...

's Jeni Barnett
Jeni Barnett
Jeni Barnett is an English actress and TV presenter who grew up in Borehamwood. She is married to Yorkshire-born actor Jim Bywater and has one daughter, Bethany.-Acting career:...

 for a week beginning on 30 June 2008. In July 2008 he announced his intention to run again for the office of Mayor of London at the next mayoral elections and signalled his intent to organise a "progressive alliance" of political parties (such as the Labour Party and the Green Party of England and Wales
Green Party of England and Wales
The Green Party of England and Wales is a political party in England and Wales which follows the traditions of Green politics and maintains a strong commitment to social progressivism. It is the largest Green party in the United Kingdom, containing within it various regional divisions including...

), trade unions and interest groups to defend the progress which was made during his terms as Mayor and to prepare for the next mayoral elections.

On 28 August 2008, it was announced that Livingstone will be an adviser on urban planning to Caracas
Caracas
Caracas , officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela; natives or residents are known as Caraquenians in English . It is located in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range...

, Venezuela. He will act as a consultant on the capital's policing, transport and other municipal issues. Livingstone was appointed by Hugo Chávez to advise officials and mayoral candidates in Caracas, in order to help transform the city, which journalist Rory Carroll
Rory Carroll
Rory Carroll is an Irish journalist for The Guardian. Born in Dublin, Carroll is a graduate of Blackrock College, Trinity College and Dublin City University...

 described as suffering from, "Gridlocked traffic, a crumbling centre, hillside slums, horrific murder rates, corrupt police and inept local government". Livingstone reckoned that in twenty years a "first-world city" can be made out of Caracas, stating, "I have a very extensive network of contacts both domestically and internationally which I will be calling on to assist in this." No decision on a salary for the ex-mayor has been made, although he mentioned that, "The whole cost of this trip has been paid for by the government of Venezuela and as an unemployed citizen I would not be able to pay for my own fare otherwise." The appointment follows on from the controversy surrounding the deal brokered by Livingstone in February 2007 for the Greater London Authority
Greater London Authority
The Greater London Authority is the top-tier administrative body for Greater London, England. It consists of a directly elected executive Mayor of London, currently Boris Johnson, and an elected 25-member London Assembly with scrutiny powers...

 and Transport for London
Transport for London
Transport for London is the local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London in England. Its role is to implement the transport strategy and to manage transport services across London...

 to provide advice to Venezuela in exchange for cheap fuel to help with bus subsidies. The deal was later overturned by new mayor Boris Johnson, and Livingstone offered his services to Chávez so that Venezuela gets the "advice that we promised". Livingstone played down any accusations that his close relationship with the Venezuelan President was controversial, "unless you believe American propaganda", while a spokesperson for Johnson said, "Ken Livingstone is free, as a private individual, to offer his advice and services to whomever he wants." Livingstone is now being touted as a key asset for Chávez in the upcoming November elections in the country. From September 2009, Livingstone has been a presenter on Television book-review show 'Epilogue', episodes of the flagship show are being pre-recorded to be broadcast in 2010 on the Iranian international news channel Press TV.

On 17 March 2010, Ken Livingstone appeared on a platform with Cambridge
Cambridge (UK Parliament constituency)
Cambridge is a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first-past-the-post voting system....

's Green Party Parliamentary candidate, Tony Juniper
Tony Juniper
Tony Juniper is a British environmental campaigner, author and commentator most recognised for his work as Executive Director of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International from 2000-2008.Juniper was the Green Party's parliamentary...

, and prominent environmental campaigner and former Green Party co-Principal Speaker Jonathon Porritt
Jonathon Porritt
Jonathon Espie Porritt, CBE, is an English environmentalist and writer. Porritt appears frequently in the media, writing in magazines, newspapers and books, and appearing on radio and television regularly.-Early life and family background:...

, at the Emmanuel United Reformed Church
Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Cambridge
Emmanuel United Reformed Church in Cambridge, England is located close to the centre of town, on Trumpington Street. A congregational church, it voted to join the new United Reformed Church in 1972.-History:...

 in Cambridge. He has courted controversy for this appearance with the Cambridge Labour Party for his apparent support of Tony Juniper, who was dubbed as a possibility to steal the Cambridge seat at the 2010 General Election. Livingstone said that he would be 'delighted' to see Juniper elected, though stopped short of announcing his endorsement of him.

In July 2010, he was a speaker at the Durham Miners' Gala
Durham Miners' Gala
The Durham Miners' Gala is a large annual gathering held on the second Saturday in July in the city of Durham, England. It is associated with the coal mining heritage of the Durham Coalfield, which stretched throughout the traditional County of Durham. It is also locally called "The Big Meeting"...

. In his speech he praised the culture of the working class retained in the Gala, and suggested it should have been brought to London during his time as Mayor. He also used the speech to attack spending cuts by the new coalition government
United Kingdom coalition government (2010–present)
The ConservativeLiberal Democrat coalition is the present Government of the United Kingdom, formed after the 2010 general election. The Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats entered into discussions which culminated in the 2010 coalition agreement, setting out a programme for government...

, claiming they were not necessary.

In April 2011, Livingstone announced than his second memoir would be published the following year by Faber & Faber, who were rumoured to have paid him around £90,000 for it. In August 2011, Livingstone caused some controversy when he jokingly claimed that the coming mayoral election was "a simple choice between good and evil. I don't think it has been so clear since the great struggle between Churchill and Hitler", before going on to joke that "Those who don't vote for me will be weighed in the balance come Judgment Day. The Archangel Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 will say, 'You didn't vote for Ken Livingstone in 2012. Oh dear, burn for ever.'" Conservative MPs and right wing media outlets immediately condemned the comments, branding them "crass" and in "incredibly poor taste".

Personal life

He married Christine Pamela Chapman in 1973; the marriage ended in divorce in 1982. Around that time he became involved with Kate Allen
Kate Allen (Amnesty International UK)
Katherine Allen is the Director of Amnesty International UK -Early career:After studying for a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Brasenose College, University of Oxford, Allen’s career started in local government as a policy officer at the Greater London Council and then Haringey London...

, now director of Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 in the UK; the couple separated in November 2001.

Livingstone and Emma Beal, also his office manager, have a son, Thomas, born 14 December 2002 at the University College Hospital
University College Hospital
University College Hospital is a teaching hospital located in London, United Kingdom. It is part of the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is closely associated with University College London ....

, London, and a daughter, Mia, born on 20 March 2004 at the Royal Free Hospital
Royal Free Hospital
The Royal Free Hospital is a major teaching hospital in Hampstead, London, England and part of the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust....

 in Hampstead
Hampstead
Hampstead is an area of London, England, north-west of Charing Cross. Part of the London Borough of Camden in Inner London, it is known for its intellectual, liberal, artistic, musical and literary associations and for Hampstead Heath, a large, hilly expanse of parkland...

. He also has three other children whose existence was only publicly revealed during the 2008 mayoral election
London mayoral election, 2008
The London mayoral election, 2008 for the office of Mayor of London was held on 1 May 2008 and was won by Conservative Party candidate Boris Johnson....

. Livingstone has declined to explain, respecting the privacy of the mothers, whether his other children were conceived through intercourse or by artificial insemination
Artificial insemination
Artificial insemination, or AI, is the process by which sperm is placed into the reproductive tract of a female for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sexual intercourse or natural insemination...

. He married Beal on 26 September 2009 in the Mappin Pavilion of London Zoo
London Zoo
London Zoo is the world's oldest scientific zoo. It was opened in London on 27 April 1828, and was originally intended to be used as a collection for scientific study. It was eventually opened to the public in 1847...

 and lives in North London
North London
North London is the northern part of London, England. It is an imprecise description and the area it covers is defined differently for a range of purposes. Common to these definitions is that it includes districts located north of the River Thames and is used in comparison with South...



Livingstone is a noted bon vivant, having twice worked as a food critic for London's Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

newspaper and various magazines.

He is known for his enthusiasm for gardening and keeping and breeding newt
Newt
A newt is an aquatic amphibian of the family Salamandridae, although not all aquatic salamanders are considered newts. Newts are classified in the subfamily Pleurodelinae of the family Salamandridae, and are found in North America, Europe and Asia...

s. He was the first person to breed the Western Dwarf Clawed Frog Hymenochirus curtipes
Hymenochirus curtipes
Hymenochirus curtipes, also known as Western Dwarf Clawed Frog, is a species of frog in the Pipidae family.It is found in Democratic Republic of the Congo, possibly Central African Republic, and possibly Republic of the Congo....

in captivity.

Although nominally raised into a Christian family, Livingstone renounced monotheistic belief when he was eleven, instead becoming an atheist
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

, and in a 2005 interview he commented that in doing so he had rejected "mumbo-jumbo in favour of rational science." The British Humanist Association
British Humanist Association
The British Humanist Association is an organisation of the United Kingdom which promotes Humanism and represents "people who seek to live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs." The BHA is committed to secularism, human rights, democracy, egalitarianism and mutual respect...

 identifies him as one of its distinguished supporters.

Public transport

One of Livingstone's challenges as Mayor of London was dealing with the city's ageing transportation infrastructure. Despite conflict over appropriate funding schemes and engineering challenges to modernising both the London Underground and the city's bus system, an Association of London Government survey, conducted by MORI towards the end of Livingstone's first term in 2004, suggested growing public satisfaction with public transport, with buses in particular being seen as more frequent and reliable.

In accordance with his pre-election pledge, bus fares were frozen for four years, but then the cash fares on buses more than doubled while Oyster (see below) fares stayed the same. The purpose of this was to increase uptake of the Oyster card. Passengers not paying in cash greatly increased the speed and reliability of bus services. Livingstone also removed the famous Routemaster
Routemaster
The AEC Routemaster is a model of double-decker bus that was built by Associated Equipment Company in 1954 and produced until 1968. Primarily front-engined, rear open-platform buses, a small number of variants were produced with doors and/or front entrances...

 1950s buses from routine service on 9 December 2005, claiming it was because the new buses were wheelchair-accessible, although several of the old buses are used on shortened "heritage routes". There was some question over the legality of using the old Routemaster under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995
Disability Discrimination Act 1995
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which has now been repealed and replaced by the Equality Act 2010 , except in Northern Ireland where the Act still applies...

 as the Routemasters were inaccessible for wheelchair users. They were also impractical for the elderly and parents with prams due to the amount of steps compared to modern low-floor buses. The amount of deaths and serious injuries resulting in people falling down the stairs, falling off, or failing to get on, these open platform buses reduced to zero. In tandem with the removal of Routemaster buses, Livingstone oversaw the introduction of articulated buses in London, which were swiftly nicknamed "bendy buses". They initially caused concerns after a series of fires, and were the subject of debate during the following Mayoral election campaign over claims of potential danger to cyclists.

Livingstone introduced and has been a strong proponent of the Oyster card
Oyster card
The Oyster card is a form of electronic ticketing used on public transport services within the Greater London area of the United Kingdom. It is promoted by Transport for London and is valid on a number of different travel systems across London including London Underground, buses, the Docklands...

 smartcard ticketing system for London's public transport network introduced in 2003. In late 2005, Livingstone proposed large fare increases for on-the-spot tickets across the Tube and bus network to encourage regular travellers to use the automated Oyster system, to reduce queuing at Underground stations and to avoid delays in conductorless buses as drivers issue tickets. The plans, although ratified by the GLA and introduced in January 2006 were condemned by those who argued that the increases would increase the cost of travelling in London to tourists and others who do not travel regularly. Civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

 groups have expressed concern over the way in which Transport for London
Transport for London
Transport for London is the local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London in England. Its role is to implement the transport strategy and to manage transport services across London...

 is able to track the movements of passengers using the Oyster card system. Livingstone moved to make all bus journeys free for passengers under the age of 18 enrolled in full-time education who travel with an Oyster card and introduced initiatives to enable visitors to buy an Oyster card before arriving in London.

One of the key points of conflict between Livingstone and the Labour Party had been the proposed Public-Private Partnership
Public-private partnership
Public–private partnership describes a government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies...

 (PPP) deal for the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

. Livingstone had run in 2000 on a policy of financing the improvements to Tube infrastructure by a public bond issue, which had been done in the case of the New York City Subway
New York City Subway
The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit...

. However the Mayor did not have power in this area at the time as the Underground operated independently of Transport for London. The PPP deal went ahead against his wishes in July 2002, but it did not diminish Livingstone's desire to re-join Labour. Metronet
Metronet
Metronet Rail was one of two companies in a public-private partnership with London Underground.Metronet was responsible for the maintenance, renewal, and upgrade of the infrastructure on nine London Underground lines from 2003 to 2008. This included track, trains, signals, civil work and stations...

, one of the winners of the contract for PPP, subsequently went into administration in July 2007. It was subsequently bailed out by the UK Government at a cost of £
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

2 billion.

Congestion charge

Livingstone introduced the London congestion charge with the purpose of reducing traffic congestion in central London. Since being introduced the charge has been controversial, though Transport for London
Transport for London
Transport for London is the local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London in England. Its role is to implement the transport strategy and to manage transport services across London...

 states that traffic has fallen by 20% within the charge zone since the scheme began. One reason for the controversy is that whilst the scheme has been lucrative for its private-sector operator, Capita, some critics argue it has failed to raise the promised levels of funding for public transport as costs eat up the revenue.

However, its apparent success in reducing congestion has led to similar schemes being proposed in other major cities such as New York.

In November 2003, Livingstone was named 'Politician of the Year' by the Political Studies Association
Political Studies Association
The Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom is an association of political scientists that exists to develop and promote the study of politics in the United Kingdom...

, which cited his implementation of what the association called a 'bold and imaginative' congestion charge scheme.

Environmental policies

Ken Livingstone has been called “an environmentalist, a leftist, a lover of newts," and has made a significant effort to reduce London’s impact on the environment. He began by creating the London Hydrogen Partnership and the London Energy Partnership in his first term as Mayor of London. The Mayor’s Energy Strategy, “green light to clean power,” commits London to reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide by 20%, relative to the 1990 level, by 2010. However, he does support the Thames Gateway Bridge
Thames Gateway Bridge
The Thames Gateway Bridge was a proposed crossing over the River Thames in east London, England. It was first mooted in the 1970s but never came to fruition...

 in East London that Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth International is an international network of environmental organizations in 76 countries.FOEI is assisted by a small secretariat which provides support for the network and its agreed major campaigns...

 say "would bring few benefits to the local people and lead to more traffic, more noise and air pollution and an increase in climate-changing emissions". 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."

In June 2007, Livingstone criticised the planned £200 million Thames Water Desalination Plant at Beckton
Beckton
Beckton is part of the London Borough of Newham, England, located east of Charing Cross.Its boundaries are the A13 trunk road to the north, Barking Creek to the east, the Royal Docks to the south, and Prince Regent Lane to the west. The area around Prince Regent Lane is also known as Custom House...

, 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."

Reaction to 7 July 2005 London bombings

At the beginning of July 2005 Livingstone was in Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, shepherding London's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games through the decision-making of the 117th IOC Session
117th IOC Session
The 117th International Olympic Committee Session was held for the first time in Singapore from 2 July to 9 July 2005. The meeting was particularly significant as two important decisions were made through voting during the session - namely the selection of the hosting city for the 2012 Summer...

. On the 7 July London was bombed
7 July 2005 London bombings
The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks in the United Kingdom, targeting civilians using London's public transport system during the morning rush hour....

 in four co-ordinated attacks, and Livingstone responded with an address that ended:

Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life. I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others - that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail. In the days that follow, look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential. They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They do not want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.


Livingstone defended the police after the mistaken killing of a Brazilian man, Jean Charles de Menezes
Jean Charles de Menezes
Jean Charles de Menezes was a Brazilian man shot in the head seven times at Stockwell tube station on the London Underground by the London Metropolitan police, after he was misidentified as one of the fugitives involved in the previous day's failed bombing attempts...

, who police believed was a suicide bomber.

Anti-racism policies

In 2001 Livingstone revived the free anti-racism
Anti-racism
Anti-racism includes beliefs, actions, movements, and policies adopted or developed to oppose racism. In general, anti-racism is intended to promote an egalitarian society in which people do not face discrimination on the basis of their race, however defined...

 Music festival
Music festival
A music festival is a festival oriented towards music that is sometimes presented with a theme such as musical genre, nationality or locality of musicians, or holiday. They are commonly held outdoors, and are often inclusive of other attractions such as food and merchandise vending machines,...

 now called Rise: London United
Rise: London United
Rise is a free anti-racism music festival held in London, England from 1996 to present. Originally organised as an anti-racism festival by the Trades Union Congress , it was revived as such by the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. In June 2008, the Greater London Authority, under newly...

. He believes that this, along with other anti-racist policies, is why London has seen a 35% decrease in racist attacks.

In September 2005 Livingstone came out in support of placing a statue of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

, the former President of South Africa
President of South Africa
The President of the Republic of South Africa is the head of state and head of government under South Africa's Constitution. From 1961 to 1994, the head of state was called the State President....

, on the north terrace of Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, United Kingdom. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of...

. Livingstone said "There can be no better place than our greatest square to place a statue of Nelson Mandela so that every generation can remind the next of the fight against racism." He was highly critical of the Planning and City Development Committee of Westminster City Council
Westminster City Council
Westminster City Council is the local authority for the City of Westminster in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council and is entitled to be known as a city council, which is a rare distinction in the United Kingdom. The city is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors...

 who refused planning permission.

In 2008 Livingstone's race advisor Lee Jasper
Lee Jasper
Lee Jasper is a British Black activist and former Senior Policy Advisor on Equalities to the Mayor of London. He resigned on 4 March 2008 following publication by the Evening Standard of personal emails that were illegally acquired....

 resigned after allegations of misuse of public funds. Jasper was later cleared of the charges, but was heavily criticised in a report by the district auditor. Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote has said the 2008 Mayoral campaign has seen the media pursue a "wholly disproportionate" focus on Jasper, Doreen Lawrence (Livingstone supporter and mother of Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence was a black British teenager from Eltham, southeast London, who was stabbed to death while waiting for a bus on the evening of 22 April 1993....

), and others.

Apology for London's role in the transatlantic slave trade

On 23 August 2007, at 12 noon, Mayor Ken Livingstone formally apologised for London's role in the transatlantic slave trade. In a bicentennial day memorial event, he also called for the 23 August to be named as a national day for remembrance in the UK for the "horrific crime against humanity of the transatlantic slave trade." He went on to make the following tearful speech and formal apology:

"It is because it is the anniversary of the biggest slave revolt in history
Haitian Revolution
The Haitian Revolution was a period of conflict in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, which culminated in the elimination of slavery there and the founding of the Haitian republic...

, that UNESCO officially marks this day, the 23 August, the anniversary of that outbreak in Haiti, as slavery's official remembrance day. This is why we, in London, call for it to be the annual slave memorial day. We are therefore here to initiate London's annual slavery memorial day, and call for the establishment of a national, annual memorial day. In 1999, Liverpool became the first major British slaving city to formally apologise. The Church of England soon followed suit. In March I invited representatives of London's institutions to join the City of Liverpool and the Church of England for formally apologising for London's role in this monstrous crime. As Mayor, I offer an apology on behalf of London and its institutions for their role in the transatlantic slave trade."


Rejecting the idea that it is not possible to "meaningfully apologise for something a former generation did," Livingstone emphasised that London and by implication the rest of the developed world still profited enormously from the assets accumulated in the slave era, adding "It was the racial murder of not just those who were transported but generations of enslaved African men, women and children. To justify this murder and torture black people had to be declared inferior or not human. We live with the consequences today."

Religious and other festivals

After rejecting the idea for a couple of years, Livingstone hosted a Jewish Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Hanukkah , also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE...

 ceremony at City Hall in December 2005. He said he intended this to be an annual occurrence. On 17 March 2002 Livingstone introduced an annual Saint Patrick's Day
Saint Patrick's Day
Saint Patrick's Day is a religious holiday celebrated internationally on 17 March. It commemorates Saint Patrick , the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of :Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion , the Eastern...

 festival to London to celebrate the contributions of the Irish to London, with around 250,000 people annually turning out for this. On 28 October 2006 he helped organise the first ever "Eid in the Square" in Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, United Kingdom. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of...

, in commemoration of the Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

 festival which marks the end of Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

, the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 month of fasting
Sawm
Sawm is an Arabic word for fasting regulated by Islamic jurisprudence. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm means to abstain from eating, drinking , having sex and anything against Islamic law...

.

Same-sex civil partnerships

In 2001, Livingstone 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" such rights. Legal status was later passed by the government through the Civil Partnership Act 2004
Civil Partnership Act 2004
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Bill for this Act was introduced by the Labour government and supported by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition. The Act grants civil partnerships in the United Kingdom with rights and...

.

Cronyism and corruption allegations

In March 2002, while still independent, Livingstone was accused of "cronyism" by some Labour party members in the London Assembly after he had appointed six officials as special advisers at a salary level which seemed to them excessive, and a manoeuvre to help his chances of being re-elected. Livingstone denied the allegations and stated the appointments were a "necessary efficiency drive."

In December 2007, the Evening Standard published news of an investigation into grants worth £2.5 million paid to organisations in which Ken Livingstone's adviser Lee Jasper
Lee Jasper
Lee Jasper is a British Black activist and former Senior Policy Advisor on Equalities to the Mayor of London. He resigned on 4 March 2008 following publication by the Evening Standard of personal emails that were illegally acquired....

 was involved. It is confirmed that some of these grants were paid directly by the mayor's office.

Following Mr. Livingstone’s defeat in the 2008 Mayoral Elections, The Daily Mail reported that “Eight 'cronies' of Ken Livingstone are to receive £1.6 million in pay-offs following his defeat in the London mayoral elections.” Mr. Livingstone changed the rules for political appointees who would otherwise not have been eligible for severance packages, which paved the way for the eight City Hall advisors to receive an average of £200,000. Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

 Leader Dee Doocey
Dee Doocey
Elizabeth Deirdre Doocey, Baroness Doocey OBE is a British Liberal Democrat politician and businesswoman, and a former Chair of the London Assembly. She was born Elizabeth Deirdre O'Keefe in Drumcondra, Dublin...

 stated that the payments were “completely inexcusable” and added that “It seems like there's one law for the ordinary working person and one law for the political class.” Tony Travers
Tony Travers
Tony Travers is a British academic and journalist, specialising in issues affecting local government. He is the director of the Greater London Group at the London School of Economics and Political Science...

, local government expert at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

, said: “I think most people will be shocked. You could do quite a lot about knife crime with £1.6 million. It is odd indeed that the full benefits of labour laws designed to protect the vulnerable are being claimed by courtiers who knew they would lose their jobs if their master lost the election.”
Mr Livingstone responded to the comments by stating that 'It's a question of what the law requires. Either there's a legal responsibility or there isn't.'

Privatisation of London Underground

Livingstone's opposition to the creation of a public-private partnership
Public-private partnership
Public–private partnership describes a government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies...

 (PPP) was a key part of his campaign in 2000. Following his election, Livingstone appointed Bob Kiley
Bob Kiley
Robert R. Kiley, better known as Bob Kiley, is a public transit planner and supervisor, with a reputation of being able to save transit systems experiencing serious problems...

, the former CEO of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, often referred to as the MBTA or simply The T, is the public operator of most bus, subway, commuter rail and ferry systems in the greater Boston, Massachusetts, area. Officially a "body politic and corporate, and a political subdivision" of the...

 and Chairman and CEO of the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority, as London's Transport Commissioner, in charge of Transport for London
Transport for London
Transport for London is the local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London in England. Its role is to implement the transport strategy and to manage transport services across London...

 (TfL). Kiley had funded improvements to the New York subway using the system Livingstone advocated in opposition to PPP. Both Livingstone and Kiley continued to oppose the government's plans for the Tube, clashing publicly with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott
John Prescott
John Leslie Prescott, Baron Prescott is a British politician who was Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007. Born in Prestatyn, Wales, he represented Hull East as the Labour Member of Parliament from 1970 to 2010...

. After negotiations between TfL and the government failed, the government moved to impose the PPP. TfL initiated a High Court
High Court of Justice
The High Court of Justice is, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...

 challenge to the government's plans, but lost its case. Shortly after his re-election in 2004, Livingstone urged tube drivers of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers is a trade union in the United Kingdom which unionises transport workers. It has more than 80,000 members, and its current general secretary is Bob Crow...

 (RMT) to cross picket lines rather than join a strike over pay and conditions following a dispute with the new management. This call led the general secretary of the RMT, Bob Crow
Bob Crow
Robert Crow , who is better known as Bob Crow, is a British trade union leader, the General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers and a member of the General Council of the TUC...

, to resign in protest from the board of Transport for London. Amongst those who criticised Livingstone for this was the Respect candidate for Mayor, Lindsey German
Lindsey German
Lindsey German is the convenor of the British anti-war organisation Stop the War Coalition and a former member of the central committee of the Socialist Workers Party. She was editor of Socialist Review for twenty years until 2004...

.

Oliver Finegold controversy

Ken Livingstone was criticised in February 2005 for remarks made to an Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

reporter, comparing him to a Nazi concentration camp
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

 guard, after the reporter had tried to interview him following a reception marking the 20th anniversary of Chris Smith's
Chris Smith, Baron Smith of Finsbury
Christopher "Chris" Robert Smith, Baron Smith of Finsbury PC is a British Labour Party politician, and a former Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister...

 coming out
Coming out
Coming out is a figure of speech for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people's disclosure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity....

 as gay. The reporter, Oliver Finegold, was in fact Jewish and said he took offence at the remarks, but Livingstone refused to withdraw the remark and was subsequently accused of antisemitism. Finegold had an audio recorder running. The Evening Standard decided not to run the story at first but the following transcript of the conversation was published by guardian.co.uk
Guardian.co.uk
guardian.co.uk, formerly known as Guardian Unlimited, is a British website owned by the Guardian Media Group. Georgina Henry is the editor...

:
Finegold: Mr Livingstone, Evening Standard. How did tonight go?
Livingstone: How awful for you. Have you thought of having treatment?
Finegold: How did tonight go?
Livingstone: Have you thought of having treatment?
Finegold: Was it a good party? What does it mean for you?
Livingstone: What did you do before? Were you a German war criminal?
Finegold: No, I'm Jewish, I wasn't a German war criminal and I'm actually quite offended by that. So, how did tonight go?
Livingstone: Ah right, well you might be Jewish, but actually you are just like a concentration camp guard, you are just doing it because you are paid to, aren't you?
Finegold: Great, I have you on record for that. So, how was tonight?
Livingstone: It's nothing to do with you because your paper is a load of scumbags and reactionary bigots.
Finegold: I'm a journalist and I'm doing my job. I'm only asking for a comment.
Livingstone: Well, work for a paper that doesn't have a record of supporting fascism.


The epithet "German war criminal" and Livingstone's subsequent jibes refer to the Standard's then owners, the Daily Mail and General Trust
Daily Mail and General Trust
Daily Mail and General Trust plc is a British media conglomerate, one of the largest in Europe. In the UK, it has interests in national and regional newspapers, television and radio. The company has extensive activities based outside the UK, through Northcliffe Media, DMG Radio Australia, DMG World...

, which endorsed Oswald Mosley
Oswald Mosley
Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet, of Ancoats, was an English politician, known principally as the founder of the British Union of Fascists...

's British Union of Fascists
British Union of Fascists
The British Union was a political party in the United Kingdom formed in 1932 by Sir Oswald Mosley as the British Union of Fascists, in 1936 it changed its name to the British Union of Fascists and National Socialists and then in 1937 to simply the British Union...

 in 1934. Livingstone also claimed the Standard was guilty of "harassment of a predominantly lesbian and gay event". Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell
Peter Tatchell
Peter Gary Tatchell is an Australian-born British political campaigner best known for his work with LGBT social movements...

 suggested in the Evening Standard that this explanation "came across as patronising. Gay people don't need the Mayor's protection to fend off a journalist asking simple questions."
After listening to the recording supplied by Finegold, the London Assembly
London Assembly
The London Assembly is an elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds majority, to amend the mayor's annual budget. The assembly was established in 2000 and is headquartered at City Hall on the south...

 voted unanimously to ask Livingstone to apologise. Livingstone responded by saying "the form of words I have used are right. I have nothing to apologise for." Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron
Nicky Gavron
Felicia Nicolette C. "Nicky" Gavron, née Coates is a British politician, former Deputy Mayor of London, a member of the London Assembly and the former Labour candidate for the 2004 Mayor of London elections.- Biography :...

, herself the daughter of a Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 survivor, said of Livingstone: "These were inappropriate words and very offensive, both to the individual and to Jews in London." Some two dozen complaints were referred to the Standards Board for England
Standards Board for England
Standards for England, formerly known as the Standards Board for England, is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Established following the Local Government Act 2000, it is responsible for promoting high ethical standards in local democracy...

, the body responsible for English local government standards, which passed it to the Adjudication Panel for England
Adjudication Panel for England
The Adjudication Panel for England was an independent judicial tribunal set up under the Local Government Act 2000. It was a Non-departmental public body which ruled on complaints referred to it by the Standards Board for England regarding alleged breaches of English local authorities' codes of...

, which has the power to ban individuals from public office for five years.

The Adjudication Panel addressed the case over two days on the 13 & 14 December 2005 and adjourned the hearing for two months. On 24 February 2006, Ken Livingstone was found guilty of bringing his office into disrepute and suspended from office for four weeks, stating that he seemed "to have failed... to have appreciated that his conduct was unacceptable". Livingstone attacked the decision on the grounds that the Adjudication Panel members ought not to suspend a democratically elected official from power, describing their actions as "striking at the heart of democracy". The ban was due to begin on 1 March 2006, but on 28 February, a High Court
High Court of Justice
The High Court of Justice is, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...

 judge postponed it pending an appeal by Livingstone.

Remarks regarding the Reuben brothers

Livingstone was criticised following a 21 March 2006 press conference at which Livingstone is alleged to have said of David and Simon Reuben
David and Simon Reuben
David and Simon Reuben are well known British businessmen and philanthropists. In the Forbes magazine List of billionaires 2011, ranking of the wealthiest people in the UK, the brothers were placed second with an estimated fortune of £5.5  billion...

 — two Indian-born Jewish businessmen involved in a property development project for the 2012 Olympics — that "if they're not happy they can always go back to Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and see if they can do better under the Ayatollahs". The Reuben brothers were born in Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

, India and are of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i-Jewish ancestry, rather than Iranian, but have carried out work in Iran. Brian Coleman
Brian Coleman
Brian Coleman FRSA is a Conservative Party politician and member of the London Assembly for Barnet and Camden, England. He is a Councillor in the London Borough of Barnet, and was Mayor for 2009-2010....

 and other Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 members of the GLA accused Livingstone of anti-Semitism, while The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

and The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

ran leaders accusing Livingstone of anti-immigrant remarks. The Guardian wrote that Livingstone's remarks would "shame a loudmouth pub buffoon", and that "The Reuben brothers have as much right to be in Britain as Livingstone himself", while the Times leader said simply "Ken Livingstone is a fool". Livingstone refused calls for him to apologise for his remarks, stating "I would offer a complete apology to the people of Iran to the suggestion that they may be linked in any way to the Reuben brothers. I wasn't meaning to be offensive to the people of Iran." He also accused Coleman of behaving like the Nazi Propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 Minister, Josef Goebbels. The Standards Board referred the comments to the GLA's monitoring officer, whose investigation exonerated the mayor.

On 5 October 2006 at the High Court of Justice
High Court of Justice
The High Court of Justice is, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...

, Mr Justice Collins overturned the decision to suspend Livingstone, regardless of the outcome of his appeal concerning the breach of standards. The final judgement upheld Livingstone's appeal and stated that the Adjudication Panel had misdirected itself, although the judge stated that the Mayor should have apologised.

On 7 December 2006, at a City Hall reception marking the launch of the London Jewish Forum
London Jewish Forum
The London Jewish Forum is dedicated to the promotion of Jewish life in London. The Forum provides a platform for engagement between London Jewry and the Greater London Authority, Mayor's Office, London Boroughs and MPs / MEPs. It works to promote the full and active engagement of the Jewish...

, Livingstone apologised for any offence that he had caused the Jewish community.
Remarks over foreign policy

In 2004 Livingstone said "I just long for the day I wake up and find that the Saudi Royal Family
House of Saud
The House of Saud , also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in the world. The family holds thousands of members...

 are swinging from lamp-posts and they've got a proper government that represents the people of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

."

In a March 2005 commentary in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

he accused Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

's prime minister Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 of being a "war criminal", citing his alleged personal responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila massacre
Sabra and Shatila massacre
The Sabra and Shatila massacre took place in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon between September 16 and September 18, 1982, during the Lebanese civil war. Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were massacred in the camps by Christian Lebanese Phalangists while the camp...

 in 1982 and accusations of ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

.

On 20 July 2005, Livingstone made the following comments in a BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 interview about the role of foreign policy as a motivation for the London bombings
7 July 2005 London bombings
The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks in the United Kingdom, targeting civilians using London's public transport system during the morning rush hour....

 of two weeks earlier:

"I think you've just had 80 years of western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of the western need for oil. We've propped up unsavoury governments, we've overthrown ones we didn't consider sympathetic. And I think the particular problem we have at the moment is that in the 1980s ... the Americans recruited and trained Osama Bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

, taught him how to kill, to make bombs, and set him off to kill the Russians and drive them out of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. They didn't give any thought to the fact that once he'd done that he might turn on his creators. A lot of young people see the double standards, they see what happens in Guantanamo Bay
Guantanamo Bay detainment camp
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a detainment and interrogation facility of the United States located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq...

, and they just think that there isn't a just foreign policy."


Later in the interview he stated, about the Palestinians of the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

:

"Under foreign occupation and denied the right to vote, denied the right to run your own affairs, often denied the right to work for three generations, I suspect that if it had happened here in England, we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves."


Right-wing commentator Mark Steyn
Mark Steyn
Mark Steyn is a Canadian-born writer, conservative-leaning political commentator, and cultural critic. He has written five books, including America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, a New York Times bestseller...

 described the interview as Livingstone "artfully" attempting "to draw a distinction between Muslim terrorists blowing up his own public transit (which he didn't approve of) and Muslim terrorists blowing up Israeli public transit (which he was inclined to be sympathetic to)."

In November 2003, Livingstone made headlines for referring to US President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 as 'the greatest threat to life on this planet,' just before Bush's official visit to the UK. Livingstone also organised an alternative 'Peace Reception' at City Hall
City Hall (London)
City Hall is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority which comprises the Mayor of London and London Assembly. It is located in Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames near Tower Bridge...

 'for everybody who is not George Bush,' with anti-war Vietnam
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 veteran
Veteran
A veteran is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field; " A veteran of ..."...

 Ron Kovic
Ron Kovic
Ronald Lawrence Kovic is an anti-war activist, veteran and writer who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He is best known as the author of the memoir Born on the Fourth of July, which was made into an Academy Award–winning movie directed by Oliver Stone, with Tom Cruise playing Kovic...

 as the guest of honour. In 2004 he referred to Bush as "the most corrupt American president since Harding
Warren G. Harding
Warren Gamaliel Harding was the 29th President of the United States . A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential self-made newspaper publisher. He served in the Ohio Senate , as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio and as a U.S. Senator...

 in the Twenties". In July 2007 Livingstone stated that Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

 needed to explain to Bush "that US governments need to return to a realistic view of the world. The US is the world's single most powerful country, but much weaker than the rest of the world put together. The attempt by one country to unilaterally impose itself on the rest of the world is not only undesirable but simply won't work."

At a 2 January 2009 London press conference featuring celebrities announcing opposition to Israel's launch of the Gaza War, Livingstone called for the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and the UK to bring home their ambassadors to Israel to express disapproval for the "slaughter and systematic murder of innocent Arabs".

Venezuelan oil deal

In February 2007, Ken Livingstone signed a deal with Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 to provide cheaper oil for London buses. In return, the Greater London Authority was to advise Venezuela on recycling, waste management, traffic and reducing carbon emissions. This deal came under criticism from the London Assembly Conservatives including Richard Barnes
Richard Barnes
Richard Barnes may refer to:*Richard Barnes , London politician*Richard Barnes , British musician*Richard Barnes , Bishop of Durham...

, who stated that the "money would be better directed at the poor of Venezuela," and journalist Martin Bright, who said that the deal "effectively takes from the poor of Latin America to give to one of the richest cities in the world." Prices were reduced by 20%; following this, half-price bus travel became available to Londoners on income support. Livingstone stated the plan "rises on the suggestion of President Hugo Chávez
Hugo Chávez
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías is the 56th and current President of Venezuela, having held that position since 1999. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela...

 and builds on the work his government is doing around the world in tackling the problems of poverty," and also said, "This will make it cheaper and easier for people to go about their lives and get the most out of London. The agreement... will also benefit the people of Venezuela, by providing expertise in areas of city management in which London is a world leader." The deal was discontinued in September 2008 by incoming mayor Boris Johnson.

Dispute with embassies over payment of congestion charge

A dispute with the US Embassy in London over payment of the London Congestion Charge
London congestion charge
The London congestion charge is a fee charged for some categories of motor vehicle to travel at certain times within the Congestion Charge Zone , a traffic area in London. The charge aims to reduce congestion, and raise investment funds for London's transport system...

 escalated on 27 March 2006 when Livingstone criticised the Embassy's decision not to pay. The Embassy argued that the charge is a form of taxation, not a charge for a service, and diplomats and their staff are therefore exempt under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries. It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion or...

. Embassy officials have never paid the charge, which was instituted in 2003. Livingstone, however, alleged that the decision was made by Robert Tuttle, who took up the post of Ambassador in July 2005. Livingstone described Tuttle as "one of George Bush's
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 closest cronies and a big funder of his election campaign" and said he was trying to "skive out of [paying] like some chiselling little crook". The group Liberty and Law reported this remark to the Standards Board for England as a breach of its code, but the Board decided not to investigate it.

Germany stopped paying the charge in 2005, Japan followed in 2006, and in 2007 France, Russia, Belgium, and 50 other missions followed suit when the zone extended to their missions' locations (Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Sweden and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 continue to pay the charge). Asked about Japan's refusal to pay in a March 2007 interview on LBC
LBC
LBC Radio operates two London-based radio stations, with news and talk formats. LBC was Britain's first legal commercial Independent Local Radio station, providing a service of news and information to London. It began broadcasting on 8 October 1973, a week ahead of Capital Radio...

 Radio, Livingstone responded, "I think there are several problems with Japan that we could go on about here. Admitting their guilt for all the war crimes
Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

 would be one thing. So if they've not got round to doing that, I doubt they're too worried about the congestion charge." London's Japanese embassy responded that their government had already apologised for previous war crimes.

Meeting with Islamic Cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Livingstone became involved in a major dispute with Peter Tatchell
Peter Tatchell
Peter Gary Tatchell is an Australian-born British political campaigner best known for his work with LGBT social movements...

, who had previously supported him, when he invited the Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi
Yusuf al-Qaradawi
Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a controversial Egyptian Islamic theologian. He is best known for his programme, ash-Shariah wal-Hayat , broadcast on Al Jazeera, which has an estimated audience of 60 million worldwide...

 to a conference on the wearing of the hijab
Hijab
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

 by female students in July 2004. The conference was called following the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools
French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools
The French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools bans wearing conspicuous religious symbols in French public primary and secondary schools...

, which particularly affected Muslim girls. Peter Tatchell, who had stood as an independent Livingstone supporter in the 2000 elections, strongly criticised the invitation because of al-Qaradawi's support for "female genital mutilation, wife-beating, the execution of homosexuals in Islamic states, the destruction of the Jewish people, the use of suicide bombs against innocent civilians and the blaming of rape victims who do not dress with sufficient modesty". Livingstone defended the invitation on grounds of Qaradawi's eminence as "one of the most authoritative Muslim scholars in the world today" who "has done most to combat socially regressive interpretations of Islam on issues like women's rights and relations with other religions". He also published a dossier giving a rebuttal to Tatchell.

According to Le Monde diplomatique
Le Monde diplomatique
Le Monde diplomatique is a monthly newspaper offering analysis and opinion on politics, culture, and current affairs. It was first created mainly for a diplomatic audience as its name implies...

, Livingstone had requested a report to inform himself on al-Qaradawi before his visit. After reading the study, he concluded "nearly all of the lies distorting al-Qaradawi's statements came from the MEMRI institute
Middle East Media Research Institute
The Middle East Media Research Institute is a Middle Eastern not for profit press monitoring organization with headquarters located in Washington, DC. MEMRI was co-founded in 1998 by Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in the Israeli military intelligence and Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli-born, American...

, which pretends to be an institute of objective research. However, we found out that the MEMRI had been founded by a former Mossad
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

 officer, who systematically distorts not only al-Qaradawi's statements, but what many other Muslim scholars say. In most of the cases, disinformation is total, and this is why I published this study."

Peter Tatchell formed part of a coalition of some London-based community groups which objected to al-Qaradawi, but whom Livingstone refused to meet. The Lesbian and Gay Coalition against Racism issued a statement of support for Livingstone signed, among others, by Ben Summerskill
Ben Summerskill
Ben Jeffrey Peter Summerskill OBE is a British businessman and journalist, who is the Chief Executive of the UK-based Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual equality organisation Stonewall, now the largest gay equality body in Europe...

 of Stonewall
Stonewall (UK)
Stonewall is a lesbian, gay and bisexual rights charity in the United Kingdom named after the Stonewall Inn of Stonewall riots fame. Now the largest gay equality organization not only in the UK but in Europe, it was formed in 1989 by political activists and others lobbying against section 28 of the...

 and Linda Bellos
Linda Bellos
Linda Bellos OBE is an English ex-politician and current businesswoman and activist for gay rights.-Personal life:Bellos was born in London to a Jewish mother, Renee Sackman, and a Nigerian father, Emmanuel Adebowale, who came from Uzebba and joined the merchant navy during the Second World War...

, which cited his record of support for gay rights "irrespective of the differing views over his meeting with the Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi". The row went on for many months, with Livingstone insistent that the mayor of a major diverse city had a duty to maintain close relationships with all faith groups even if he disagreed with some of their views.

Connection to Socialist Action

Running as an independent candidate for Mayor in 2000, Livingstone was supported by the Trotskyist group Socialist Action
Socialist Action (UK)
Socialist Action is a small Trotskyist group in the United Kingdom. From the mid-1980s Socialist Action became an entryist organisation, attempting to take over other organisations, with members using code names and not revealing their affiliation....

. His decision to appoint members of Socialist Action to his administration during his first term drew criticism in the media. In a January 2008 article that was subsequently spun as revealing a "secret Marxist cell" at the GLA, Atma Singh, a former member of Socialist Action who had been Policy Advisor on Asian Affairs to Ken Livingstone from 2001 to 2007, detailed some of the history and activities of Socialist Action, accusing members of planning a "bourgeois democratic revolution", trying accumulate power and manipulating the Mayor. A subsequent episode of the Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 documentary series Dispatches
Dispatches (TV series)
Dispatches is the British television current affairs documentary series on Channel 4, first transmitted in 1987. The programme covers issues about British society, politics, health, religion, international current affairs and the environment, usually featuring a mole in an organisation.-Awards:*...

, "The Court of Ken", presented by journalist Martin Bright
Martin Bright
Martin Bright is a British journalist. He worked for the BBC World Service and The Guardian before becoming The Observer's education correspondent and then home affairs editor...

, featured Singh and others making these same allegations. The advisers named, including chief of staff Simon Fletcher, deputy chief of staff and director of public affairs and transport Redmond O'Neill
Redmond O'Neill
Redmond O'Neill was a British political activist.Born in London to a family from Tipperary, O'Neill studied at Sussex University, where he joined the Trotskyist International Marxist Group . One faction in the IMG later became Socialist Action, and O'Neill was recognised as its leader...

, economic adviser John Ross, green adviser Mark Watts and culture adviser Jude Woodward, have refused to state whether or not they are still active as Socialist Action, and a spokesman for Livingstone responded to the charges by referring to Singh's removal from his job for "failure to discharge his duties" and calling Singh "an embittered ex-employee".

Political views

Livingstone describes himself as a socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, stating in 2007 that "I still believe one day that the idea that the main means of production are owned by private individuals... will be considered as anti-democratic as the idea serfs could be tied to the land. But I will not be alive when that day comes."

In September 2010, Livingstone criticised the public spending cuts announced by the recently elected Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

-Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

 coalition government, which he stated amounted to £45 billion a year for London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 alone, and were "beyond Margaret Thatcher's wildest dreams" (in other words more drastic than the spending cuts during her time in power) as well as threatening to result in widespread division and poverty across the capital.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK