Siân Berry

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Siân Berry
Sian berry.jpg
Principal Speaker of the Green Party
In office
24 November 2006 – 30 November 2007
Preceded by Caroline Lucas
Succeeded by Caroline Lucas
Personal details
Born (1974-07-09) 9 July 1974 (age 39)
Cheltenham, England, UK
Nationality United Kingdom British
Political party Green Party of England and Wales
Residence London
Website sianberry.org.uk

Siân Berry (born 9 July 1974, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire) is an English politician and member of the Green Party of England and Wales. From 2006 to 2007, she was one of the Green Party's Principal Speakers.[1] She was the party's candidate in the 2008 London mayoral election.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Born and raised in Cheltenham, Berry attended the selective Pate's Grammar School (where her father, John Berry, is a teacher). She attended Trinity College, Oxford, where she studied Metallurgy and the Science of Materials. Upon graduating in 1997, she moved to London.[1]

Green Party politician[edit]

Berry joined the Green Party aged 28 whilst working as a medical copywriter for large pharmaceutical companies, which she then decided "conflicted" with her principles. She resigned, becoming increasingly politically active and beginning a new career in an ethical temping agency that dealt with a wide range of charitable organisations. She worked as a website manager at Imperial College London but quit this job in order to focus on her mayoral campaign.[3]

In her first major party political role as the Green Party Campaigns Co-ordinator, Berry spearheaded the Green Energy Works Campaign, calling for low carbon, non-nuclear energy to tackle climate change. She also led a campaign against the renewal of Britain's nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine, which saw her travel to the nuclear submarine base in Faslane, Scotland, to protest.[1]

Berry has narrowly missed being elected to Camden London Borough Council three times in local elections: once during 2002 and twice in 2006. In the 2002 local elections, she came fifth in the Highgate ward with 811 votes, just two votes behind a Conservative candidate in fourth place and 38 votes behind the third place required to gain a seat.[4] The 2006 Local Elections would see her contest the Kentish Town ward, in which she gained 1,057 votes and came sixth, 156 votes short of third place.[5] A 7 December 2006 by-election in the Kentish Town ward saw her come second with 812 votes, behind the Liberal Democrat winner who polled 1093 votes.[6]

In 2005, Berry was the Green Party's parliamentary candidate for the Hampstead and Highgate constituency in the General Election. She polled 5.3% of the vote, coming fourth.

Berry was elected as the Green Party's Female Principal Speaker unopposed in Autumn 2006, succeeding Dr Caroline Lucas MEP and, working alongside male Principal Speaker Dr Derek Wall, served until Autumn 2007 when Dr Lucas resumed the post following an election. She wrote a regular blog for the New Statesman current affairs magazine from November 2006– July 2008.[7]

On 12 March 2007, the Green Party announced that Berry would be the party's candidate in the 2008 London mayoral election, after she received 45% of the votes in the London Green Party's internal election.[2] Berry recommended that her voters back Labour Party candidate Ken Livingstone as their second preference[8] and Livingstone did likewise.[9] Berry was endorsed by The Independent and The Observer newspapers, with Ken Livingstone as second preference.[10][11] Berry came fourth, with 3.15% of first preferences and 13.50% of second preferences.[12] This was the highest placing for a Green candidate in Mayoral elections at the time, later beaten by candidate Jenny Jones coming third in front of the Liberal Democrats at the 2012 London Mayoral Elections.

Non-party activism[edit]

Speaking at the London mayoral announcement

Berry was a founder of the Alliance against Urban 4×4s, which started in Camden in 2003 and became a national campaign demanding measures to stop 4x4s (known in the United States as sport utility vehicles) "taking over our cities".[1] The campaign is notorious for its "theatrical demonstrations" and spoof parking tickets, credited to Berry[1] (although now adapted by numerous local groups),[13] some 150,000 of which have been placed on 4x4 vehicles by campaigners. The group was successful in getting the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, to adopt one of its founding principles when he introduced a higher congestion charge for vehicles with high emissions. The Alliance campaigns further for greater taxes and stricter controls on advertisements for 4x4s. An international '4x4 Network' has now been founded.[1]

In her local borough of Camden, Berry has also campaigned against the Iraq war, genetically modified foods and air quality problems, and supported local services threatened by redevelopment projects. She has advocated "green development" in Kings Cross Railwaylands (the largest brownfield site in the UK) to provide more family-housing.[1]

She initiated the Census Alert[14] campaign to stop Lockheed Martin from running the UK Census, and is a Patron of the Fair Pay Network.[15][16]

Most recently she was a driving force behind the Reheat Britain campaign for 'boiler scrappage' which secured funding to replace some of the most inefficient boilers in the UK through the 2009 annual Pre Budget Report.[17]

On 15 September 2010, Berry, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published in The Guardian, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK.[18]

Author[edit]

Berry is also author of a number of books, including 50 Ways to Greener Travel,[19] 50 Ways to be a Greener Shopper,[20] 50 Ways to Save Water and Energy[21] and 50 Ways to make your house and garden greener.[22] Her most recent book is Mend it![23]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Caroline Lucas
Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Caroline Lucas