Ted Knight (politician)

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Edward Robert Knight (born 13 June 1933)[1] is a former local politician in London, England who was leader of Lambeth London Borough Council from 1978.

When the Conservative Government took powers through the Rates Act 1984 to limit the budgets of local councils, several left-wing Labour councils organised a rebellion in which they refused to set a budget. All the councils eventually backed down except Liverpool City Council and Lambeth. The district auditor found that the council had lost interest on tax payments as a result, which was held to be due to the "wilful misconduct" of Knight and 31 other councillors. Each was required to repay the amount of lost interest in a surcharge and banned from holding office for five years. Neil Kinnock blamed leaders like "Red Ted" Knight and Linda Bellos from Lambeth, for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.

Knight had some influence on Ken Livingstone, later Leader of the Greater London Council and Mayor of London. Knight had been expelled from the Labour Party in 1956 for his involvement in the Socialist Labour League[1] but re-joined the Norwood branch in 1970 where he met Livingstone. The two formed an alliance and purged the Norwood wards of right wingers for the council elections in 1974. After that they jostled for the leadership of the left within the Labour Group on Lambeth Council but Livingstone later moved to another area of London.

Before the 1987 general election he was a potential candidate for Coventry North East, he was runner-up at the Constituency Labour Party selection meeting, losing to John Hughes.

Knight retired into political obscurity after being expelled from office as a result of the Rate-capping rebellion. He pursued various business interests, and remained treasurer of the town hall social club until it closed in 1994. He is, however, still active within Unite, the trade union.

Knight was elected to the National Committee of the Labour Representation Committee (2004) at their AGM on 17 November 2007. He still lives in Norwood on Gipsy Hill in a house with a brass plate reading 'Edward Knight'.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cathy Ashley "Ted Knight" in Greg Rosen (ed.) Dictionary of Labour Biography, London: Politicos, 2001, p.342-43

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