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Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone (born June 17, 1945), Mayor of London 2000 - present, was born in Lambeth[?], London. He was Labour MP for Brent East between 1987 and 2001.

He is also known as "Red Ken", a tabloid sobriquet, and is famous for his predilection for keeping newts.

He was a former member (1973-1986) and leader (1981-1986) of the Greater London Council with a reputation as a radical socialist (a member of the tabloid-despised "Loony Left"). After Margaret Thatcher disbanded the GLC, Livingstone went on to become an MP for the Labour Party. Having adopted a more moderate political position, Livingstone stood for nomination as the official Labour Party candidate in the London mayoral elections. Despite much popular support, the less controversial Frank Dobson[?] was selected, via an internal election which some felt was too controlled by the party leadership who did little to disguise their distaste for Livingstone. Despite having earlier stated he would not, Ken chose to stand as an independent candidate and was expelled from the Labour Party.

Livingstone beat the other candidates: Frank Dobson[?] (Labour), Steven Norris (Conservative), Susan Kramer[?] (Liberal Democrat) and seven fringe candidates decisively in an incident-filled election, becoming the first modern elected Mayor of London.


A car rental company's comment on the Congestion Charge

Recent events

To date Livingstone has not been fully reconciled with the Labour Party. One of the key points of conflict had been the proposed partial privatisation of the London Underground. Livingstone had proposed that funds should be raised to improve the Tube infrastructure by a public bonds issue, which had been done in the case of the New York City Subway. Labour kept pushing their public-private partnership[?] scheme, to which Livingstone relented in July 2002.

Livingstone was also instrumental in introducing the London Congestion Charge, in an attempt to reduce traffic congestion in the city.



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