Ken Livingstone becomes the first Mayor of London
On 4 May 2000, the role of 'Mayor of London' was created, with Ken Livingstone elected as the first post-holder.
Ken Livingstone served as Leader of the Greater London Council (GLC) from 1981 until the council was abolished in 1986, and as Mayor of London from the creation of the office in 2000 until 2008. The idea of having a 'Mayor of London' was included in Labour's 1997 election manifesto, and after their election a referendum was scheduled for May 1998, in which there was a 72% yes vote with a 34% turnout.
Livingstone had a number of matters on his agenda. For one, he wanted to remove the pigeons from Trafalgar Square. He sought to phase out thr use of the Routemaster buses, the design for which dated back to the 1950s. Although iconic, they were deemed hazardous and responsible for a high number of deaths and serious injuries as passengers climbed onto them. Additionally, he revived London's free anti-racism music festival, now called Rise: London United and in 2001, he set up Britain's first register for same-sex couples. This register was seen as a step towards the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Furthermore, Livingstone's administration introduced a congestion charge covering 8 square miles in central London. This charged motorists £5 a day for driving through the area, in an attempt to deter traffic and reduce congestion.
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