Ken Livingstone was born in Streatham, South London on 14th June 1945. He joined the London Labour Party in 1969 and in 1970 enrolled at Phillipa Fawcett Teacher Training College.
Between 1971 and 1978 he served as a member of Lambeth Council, holding the position of vice-chair of the housing committee from 1971-73. In 1978 he was elected to Camden Council where he remained until 1982. From 1974 until 1986 he was a member of the Regional Executive of the Greater London Labour Party.
In 1973 he became member of the GLC. Following the GLC elections of 1981 Livingstone ousted the incumbent Labour Leader, Andrew Mackintosh, and took control of London Government.
He is commonly known for championing a policy of equality for all Londoners – regardless of sexuality, race, gender or religion. Such policies made him a hero to many Londoners and a Bogey Man to the Conservative Government and media.
In 1986 Margaret Thatcher’s government abolished the GLC prompting Livingstone to stand for the Brent East parliamentary seat. He held the seat until his election as Mayor in 2000.
Successive Labour leaderships left Livingstone on the backbenches with no formal role or platform. Appearances on popular and high profile shows such as ‘Have I Got News For You’ helped keep Livingstone in the public eye.
Following the successful referendum on the establishment of a Greater London Authority, Livingstone was nominated in the internal Labour ballot to select a Mayoral candidate.
After much internal party wrangling including a selection process many say was rigged against him, Livingstone left Labour and launched an ultimately successful Independent Mayoral bid.
In 2004 he was re-admitted to the Labour Party and selected as their candidate for the 2004 elections. He was re-elected beating his closest rival, the Conservative candidate Steve Norris, with a majority of over 150,000.
In 2008 Livingstone unsuccessfully stood for a third term, being beaten by Conservative candidate Boris Johnson.