'Lady Mayor' vows to remain low-profile

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Indy Politics

Those waiting for a Lady Mayoress-type pose from the partner of Ken Livingstone are advised not to hold their breath. Kate Allen, who has lived with Mr Livingstone for 17 years, is resolutely private - and intends to keep it that way.

Throughout his colourful career as Red Ken, firebrand leader of the GLC, to his mayoral campaign, Ms Allen, 44, has maintained a determinedly low profile, agreeing to publicity only on her recent appointment as the United Kingdom director of Amnesty.

The middle of three children, she spent most of her childhood in Ilford, Essex, and was the first in her family to go to university. She says she was a "terrible swot, one of those probably very irritating children who liked doing homework".

She became one of the first female students to attendBrasenose College, Oxford, where she earned something of a reputation after objecting to a two-minute silence to mark the death of Franco.

Ms Allen's first job was with the GLC, before she joined Camden Council. It was aged 26, as a Camden councillor, that she met Mr Livingstone. Their relationship rests on a shared and deep-seated ideology, and has survived tabloid claims about his fidelity.

She has made clear that she should not be expected to "flop around" behind Mr Livingstone like a dutiful consort.

She has said: "I do feel very strongly that people in the public eye are entitled to some privacy."