Whatever happened to? The GLC

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New voice: The GLC (Greater London Council) is born in April 1964, with WG Fiske as its first leader, replacing the London County Council, covering the same essential services but a larger area: 610 sq miles as "Greater" London.

Old conflicts: Power alternating between Conservative and Labour with Labour finally gaining a majority in 1981. This brings London a new head in Ken Livingstone who earns himself the nickname "Red Ken" with some flamboyant decisions, including one to spend pounds 44,000 on a charter for gay and lesbian rights. Propaganda of his own keeps his popularity high among Londoners, including a huge hot-air balloon bearing the words "Working for London". Lord Bowness, chairman of the Tory-controlled London Boroughs Association speaks out in favour of abolition. The final straw comes when banners are draped outside County Hall proclaiming the daily unemployment total. In 1986, the council is abolished.

New deal: A non-elected quango (the LPAC), 33 local councils and Whitehall take over. According to an Association of London Authorities survey in 1993, four out of five Londoners want the GLC back. In 1996, Labour unveils plans for a city mayor and new authority.

Next step? Labour's election manifesto pledges a directly elected London authority. Will London get one? Onlytime will tell.

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