One of Labour’s most senior and longest-serving London Assembly members has announced she’s stepping down at the next election.
Val Shawcross has represented the Lambeth and Southwark constituency since being elected at the inaugural City Hall elections in 2000.
Between 1994 and 2000 she served on Croydon council and became its leader in 1997, a post she held until her election to the Assembly. Her work in local government was recognised in 2002 when she was awarded a CBE.
During Ken Livingstone’s Mayoralty she served as chair of the capital’s fire authority and is currently chair of the Assembly’s transport committee.
In 2010 Livingstone announced Shawcross would be his running mate in the 2012 London Mayoral election, a position which would have seen her serve as deputy mayor of London had Livingstone ousted successor Boris Johnson from the Mayoralty.
In November 2012 she narrowly lost out to Steve Reed in the contest to become Labour’s Croydon North by-election candidate.
Announcing her decision to step down, Ms Shawcross said: “It has been an absolute honour to serve the people of Lambeth and Southwark and I am very proud of the work my colleagues and I have done at City Hall, holding two Mayors to account and standing up for the interests of our great city and its people.
“When I was first elected in 2000 I couldn’t have imagined how I would see the Assembly and the Mayoralty develop and the positive impact they would have on London.
“Whilst there are many memories I will take away with me I am particularly proud of my time spent chairing the London Fire Brigade, modernising the service, introducing a focus on prevention and significantly cutting the number of fire deaths.”
She added: “Until the election I will remain utterly committed to serving the people of Lambeth and Southwark and to my role fighting for a fair deal for London’s transport passengers as Chair of the Assembly Transport Committee.”
Green party AM Darren Johnson, who is also stepping down next year, paid tribute to Ms Shawcross and her work on the Assembly, saying: “I got to know Val during the first ever Mayor and Assembly election campaign back in 2000 and she’s always shown herself to be completely open to working in a cross-party way and, although like me originally from the north west, absolutely passionate about London.
“16 years is a fair old stint and having come to exactly the same conclusion myself, I wish her well in whatever she decides to do next. She’s certainly made her mark on City Hall.”
Labour Mayoral hopeful Dame Tessa Jowell whose Dulwich parliamentary seat overlapped Ms Shawcross’s Lambeth and Southwark constituency, told MayorWatch: “Val Shawcross has been a byword for integrity, decency and competence in south London for many years.
“She will leave a huge gap at the London Assembly, but all her friends will join me in wishing her happiness and fulfilment in the future.”
London Assembly Labour Group Len Duvall AM:
“Val is one of the most dedicated public servants I have known. Her commitment to her constituents, tireless work ethic and fair but firm approach to scrutiny have made Val an outstanding Assembly Member.
“Whilst Val may be standing down I have no doubt that she will put everything she has into fighting for her constituents and being a tenacious Chair of the Transport Committee in her final year. Whatever happens at the next election I have no doubt that Val will leave big shoes for her successor to fill.”
Dear @ValShawcross I'm so sorry to hear you are standing down as AM. You have been a wonderful colleague cross party – I wish you success!
— Jenny Jones (@GreenJennyJones) May 15, 2015
Really sorry to hear @ValShawcross is standing down next year – she's been a great friend and representative for Lambeth & Southwark.
— Peter John (@peterjohn6) May 15, 2015
We're sad to hear that you are stepping down as AM @ValShawcross . You have been a great ally and champion of accessible travel.
— Transport for All (@transportforall) May 15, 2015