Oona King to run as Labour candidate for mayoral election

May 27, 2010

BRITAINOnce one of “Blair’s Babes“, former Labour MP Oona King has thrown down the gauntlet to former Mayor Ken Livingstone with the announcement of her official bid to become Labour’s candidate to run for London mayor in 2012.

King served as the second black woman MP in Britain after Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, who was elected in 1987.

Until her defeat by Respect’s George Galloway in 2005, King represented Bethnal Green and Bow in the Commons for 8 years from 1997 to 2005 under Prime Minister Tony Blair’s leadership.

In a 2007 autobiography titled “House Music: The Oona King diaries“, King details her life as an MP, including the challenges she faced after announcing her support of Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

King, currently head of diversity at Channel 4, will have to defeat anti-establishment Labour candidate Livingstone to compete against Conservative incumbent Mayor Boris Johnson in 2012. Last year, Livingstone announced a challenge to Johnson.

Livingstone was the first elected mayor of London. He was elected as an independent candidate in 2000, but in 2004 he ran for the post again under the Labour banner and served as mayor until 2008 when he was defeated by Johnson.

He was leader of the Greater London Council from 1981 until Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government abolished it in 1986.

(Picture shows Labour MP Oona King and London Mayor Ken Livingstone as they take part in election campaigning in Bethnal Green, in 2005. REUTERS/Toby Melville)

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