Nicky Gavron

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Nicky Gavron
Nicky gavron portrait.jpg
Deputy Mayor of London
In office
14 June 2004 – 4 May 2008
Mayor Ken Livingstone
Preceded by Jenny Jones
Succeeded by Richard Barnes
In office
16 May 2000 – 16 May 2003
Mayor Ken Livingstone
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Jenny Jones
Member of the London Assembly for London-Wide
Assumed office
10 June 2004
Preceded by Jennette Arnold
Member of the London Assembly
for Enfield and Haringey
In office
4 May 2000 – 10 June 2004
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Joanne McCartney
Personal details
Born Felicia Nicolette Coates
(1941-11-24) 24 November 1941 (age 75)
Worcester, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour Co-operative
Spouse(s) Bob Gavron (div.)
Children 4
Residence Highgate, London
Alma mater Courtauld Institute
Occupation Politician
Profession Lecturer
Religion Judaism

Felicia Nicolette C. "Nicky" Gavron, née Coates is a British politician, former Deputy Mayor of London, a member of the London Assembly and the former Labour candidate for the 2004 Mayor of London elections.[1]


Gavron was born in Worcester. She is the daughter of a German Jew who had fled Nazi Germany in 1936 as pressure on the Jewish community was mounting. In March 2008 she claimed that her mother was chosen to dance before Hitler in the opening ceremony of the 1936 Olympics, until the authorities discovered that she was Jewish.[2]

She studied at Worcester Girls' Grammar School, followed by the study of the history of art at the Courtauld Institute in London. She then gained a job as a lecturer at the Camberwell School of Art in South London.

Political career[edit]

Gavron first became interested in politics in the 1970s when she campaigned against the widening of the Archway Road in London. In an interview with the Guardian she said, "It was in the days when everyone thought road widening was the answer, but the penny dropped for me that it was part of the problem."[3]

In 1986, following the abolition of the Greater London Council, she was elected as a Labour councillor for Archway ward in the London Borough of Haringey. She was leader of the London Planning Advisory Committee from 1994 until it was absorbed into the Greater London Authority. She was elected London Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey in the 2000 London Assembly election and was Deputy Mayor of London from May 2000 until June 2003,[4] when the mayor, Ken Livingstone, appointed Jenny Jones, of the Green Party, to succeed her.

Although she was selected as Labour's mayoral candidate for the 2004 elections, she stepped aside when Ken Livingstone was readmitted to the party. In the 2004 London Assembly election she was re-elected as a London-wide Labour Assembly Member on the party list. Shortly after the election, Livingstone once again appointed her to the position of deputy mayor.[5] Gavron was supposed to take up a position as acting mayor during Livingstone's suspension for four weeks from 1 March 2006; but a High Court order froze the suspension, allowing Livingstone to remain in office.

Gavron stood for the Barnet and Camden London Assembly seat in the 2008 GLA elections against the Conservative incumbent, Brian Coleman. Although she was unsuccessful in this contest she increased the Labour share of the vote in the constituency and was re-elected to the Assembly on the London-wide list vote.

Gavron ceased to be deputy mayor on 4 May 2008 following Boris Johnson's victory in the 2008 London mayoral election. She has since been elected chair of the London Assembly's Housing and Planning Committee.

Gavron is a former member of the Safer London Committee and the Metropolitan Police Authority. She also served on the Mayor's Advisory Cabinet, holding the portfolio for spatial development and strategic planning.[6] In this capacity she was the driving force behind much of the Mayor's environment and planning policy, overseeing the London Plan.[7]

Environmental policy[edit]

Gavron is internationally recognised for her environmental expertise. She was a key figure in the establishment of the London Climate Change Agency and the C40 – a worldwide climate change action group made up of the world's largest cities.[8] In 2006, Business Week Magazine cited her, along with Ken Livingstone, as one of the twenty most important people in the world in the battle against greenhouse gas emissions. The magazine said that "[she aims] to turn London into a model of a sustainable future for all the world's great cities."[3]

In the same year she called for a new Clean Air Act – a Low Carbon Act to fight climate change.[9] She envisioned low carbon zones being rolled out across the country in the same way that smokeless zones were in the 1950s.

Gavron has criticised patio heaters, calling them "an indulgence too far". In an article for the Guardian's Comment is Free site she asked, "why not wear a jumper and enjoy fresh air, not a cocktail of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and goodness knows what else."[10]

Personal life[edit]

In 1967 she married the publishing tycoon Robert Gavron (later Lord Gavron), a widower with two children. They had two daughters together, Jessica, now a lawyer, and Sarah, a film director. They divorced in 1997. She is a major shareholder in the printing firm St Ives Plc and lives in Highgate, London.[11]


External links[edit]

Political offices
New office Deputy Mayor of London
Succeeded by
Jenny Jones
Preceded by
Jenny Jones
Deputy Mayor of London
Succeeded by
Richard Barnes