BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 16 May, 2000, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
Labour deputy joins Livingstone
London Mayor Ken Livingstone and his deputy
Labour London Assembly member Nicky Gavron has accepted Ken Livingstone's offer to become his deputy, signalling that the party's intent to co-operate with the new mayor.

Ms Gavron, Greater London Assembly member for Enfield and Haringey, was offered the position of deputy mayor over the weekend but it was unclear whether she would accept until Wednesday.


I could not be deputy mayor unless Ken agreed to avoid constant conflict with the government

Nicky Gavron, deputy mayor
In a statement she said she would take up his offer for one year, under a rotating system devised by Mr Livingstone, "following written clarification of undertakings given yesterday by the mayor".

These are understood to include an agreement to put the key issue of future London Underground funding to an independent review.

Mr Livingstone had previously made clear his intention to challenge the government - in court if necessary - over its plans for a Tube sell-off.

Ms Gavron added: "Ken was elected as an independent. I was elected on Labour's manifesto. I could not be deputy mayor unless Ken agreed to avoid constant conflict with the government."

"We welcome this opportunity to start making London a better place for all Londoners in this critical first year."

Preliminary wrangling

It had been in doubt whether the nine-strong Labour group would work with Mayor Livingstone when on Tuesday it turned down the offer to Ms Gavron of deputy mayor and to Lord Harris of chairing the Metropolitan Police Authority.

But the rejection was seen preliminary wrangling before an expected acceptance of the number two slot by the time of the assembly's first full meeting on Friday.

After talks with the group Mr Livingstone announced that he would set up the independent panel on Tube funding. The writer Simon Jenkins has been approached to head the panel.

Darren Johnson: Environment portfolio
The compromise deal cleared the path for Ms Gavron and others to participate in Mr Livingstone's administration while allowing Labour to claim to have wrung concessions from the mayor.

Mr Livingstone was expelled from the party for standing for mayor as an independent.

Green GLA member Darren Johnson has accepted the environment portfolio.

And Lord Harris has accepted Mr Livingstone's nominationto chair the MPA. The assembly is now expected to rubber-stamp the decision at its first meeting on Friday.

In her acceptance letter to Mr Livingstone, Ms Gavron stressed: "Labour does not see the mayoralty as a platform from which to assert political views on issues not relevant to his role."

Tories signal opposition role

The Conservatives in the assembly signalled their intention to take up an opposition role when their leader said they were unlikely to join any Labour-Green dominated administration.

Bob Neill, leader of the nine-strong Tory group, said his party would provide "constructive opposition".

Mr Livingstone had already invited the Tories to nominate a member to join his cabinet but did not offer any specific post.

Mr Neill said: "Ken Livingstone's offered a job to everyone bar the cleaning lady as far as I can see. What I've said to Ken is that if there is a sensible and genuine offer that's on the table, we will consider it.

"At the moment the offer of a job without portfolio in what really is a Labour and Green dominated cabinet is not attractive."

William Hague: Challenged Labour to work with Tories
The Tory group leader insisted: "We are not so much interested in who gets what job."

"What I want to see is a commitment from Ken for the assembly and the authority as a whole to have a structure in which the assembly is able to have a clear and strong voice on behalf of the people who elected us."

He added that the Tories would respond to Mr Livingstone's plans for the capital on a case by case basis.

Congestion charges would be firmly opposed; but finding a cheaper alternative to the proposed assembly building near Tower Bridge would be supported.

Conservative leader William Hague also challenged Labour members to join the Conservatives and block any attempt by Mr Livingstone to introduce congestion charges.

Labour's London manifesto opposed the charges - one of the few revenue-raising measures available to the mayor.

See also:

09 May 00 | UK Politics
07 May 00 | UK Politics
08 May 00 | UK Politics
08 May 00 | UK Politics
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes