Siân Berry

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Cllr
Siân Berry
AM
Sian berry.jpg
Leader of the Green Party in the London Assembly
Assumed office
6 May 2016
Preceded by Jenny Jones
Member of the London Assembly
for the Green Party (London-wide)
Assumed office
6 May 2016
Preceded by Jenny Jones
Camden Borough Councillor
for Highgate ward
Assumed office
22 May 2014
Preceded by Maya De Souza
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 42)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Nationality British
Political party Green Party of England and Wales
Residence London
Education Pate's Grammar School
Trinity College, Oxford
Known for Green Party Principal Speaker, 2006–07
London mayoral candidate, 2008
London mayoral candidate, 2016
Website sianberry.org.uk

Siân Rebecca Berry[1] (born 9 July 1974) 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.[2] She was the party's candidate in the 2008 London mayoral election,[3] and again in the 2016 election, at which she came third. She currently serves as a member of the London Assembly and the only Green Party councillor on Camden Council, representing Highgate.

Early life and career[edit]

Born and raised in Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, Berry was educated at Pate's Grammar School, a state grammar school in Cheltenham, where her father, John Berry, is a teacher, followed by Trinity College at the University of Oxford, where she studied Metallurgy and Science of Materials. Upon graduating in 1997, she moved to London.[2]

Green Party politician[edit]

Berry joined the Green Party aged 27 when working as a medical copywriter for large pharmaceutical companies, which she decided conflicted with her principles. She became increasingly politically active, 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 left to focus on her mayoral campaign.[4]

In her first major party political role as the Green Party Campaigns Co-ordinator, Berry led 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, travelling to the nuclear submarine base in Faslane, Scotland, to protest.[2]

Berry failed to be elected to Camden London Borough Council three times: once during 2002 and twice in 2006. In the 2002 local elections, she came fifth in the Highgate ward with 811 votes, 38 votes behind the third place required to gain a seat.[5] The 2006 Local Elections saw her contest the neighbouring Kentish Town ward, in which she gained 1,057 votes and came sixth out of 12.[6] A 7 December 2006 by-election in Kentish Town ward saw her come second out of four with 812 votes, behind the Liberal Democrat winner on 1093 votes.[7]

In 2005, Berry was the Green Party's parliamentary candidate for the Hampstead and Highgate constituency (which includes both the Highgate and Kentish Town wards) in the General Election. She received 5.3% of the vote, coming fourth.

Berry was elected as the Green Party's female Principal Speaker unopposed in autumn 2006, succeeding Caroline Lucas MEP and, working alongside male Principal Speaker Derek Wall, served until Autumn 2007 when Lucas resumed the post following an election. She wrote a regular blog for the New Statesman current affairs magazine from November 2006 – July 2008.[8]

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.[3] Berry recommended that her voters back Labour Party candidate Ken Livingstone as their second preference[9] and Livingstone advocated an equivalent preference for his supporters.[10] Berry was endorsed by The Independent and The Observer newspapers, with Ken Livingstone as second preference.[11][12] Berry came fourth, with 3.15% of first preferences and 13.50% of second preferences.[13] This was the highest placing for a Green Mayoral candidate at the time, later surpassed by the Green's Jenny Jones in the 2012 London Mayoral Elections who came third ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

In the 2014 local elections, Berry was elected to the Highgate ward of Camden London Borough Council, holding the seat of outgoing Green councillor Maya De Souza in a split result for the ward.[14][15][16] On 2 September it was announced that she had won the internal party election to stand as the Greens' London mayoral candidate and first place list candidate for the London Assembly elections in 2016. She was one of the few candidates in the race to rent rather than own her home and made private renters' rights a centrepiece of her campaign.[17] She was described by The Guardian's London specialist Dave Hill as having "like her party, grown more formidable with experience".[18]

Non-party activism[edit]

Berry in 2010

Berry was a founder of the Alliance against Urban 4×4s, which began in Camden in 2003 and became a national campaign demanding measures to stop 4x4 (or sport utility vehicles) "taking over our cities".[2] The campaign is known for its "theatrical demonstrations" and mock parking tickets, credited to Berry[2] (although now adapted by numerous local groups),[19] 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.[2]

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.[2]

She initiated the Census Alert[20] campaign to stop Lockheed Martin from running the UK Census, and is a Patron of the Fair Pay Network.[21][22]

In 2009 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.[23]

Berry is a humanist and a patron of the British Humanist Association (BHA), a UK charity representing non-religious people who want a secular state.[24] On 15 September 2010, Berry, along with 54 other public figures, signed a BHA open letter published in The Guardian, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK.[25]

From June 2011 to late 2015, Berry worked as a roads and sustainable transport campaigner for the charity Campaign for Better Transport.[26]

Police monitoring[edit]

In April 2016, it was reported that Berry had been monitored by the National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit, in apparent contradiction of assurances by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, that the unit would not target peaceful campaigners.[27]

Author[edit]

Berry is also author of a number of books, including 50 Ways to Greener Travel,[28] 50 Ways to be a Greener Shopper,[29] 50 Ways to Save Water and Energy[30] and 50 Ways to make your house and garden greener.[31] In 2010 she published Mend it![32] and in 2011 Junk for Joy on upcycling projects.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Siân Berry's biography, Green Party of England and Wales
  3. ^ a b Siân Berry Chosen as London Mayoral Candidate, Green Party of England and Wales, 12 March 2007
  4. ^ Siân Berry, the Green goddess, The Guardian, 10 February 2008
  5. ^ Camden local election 2002 PDF (155 KB), London Borough of Camden
  6. ^ Camdem council seat-by-seat results, BBC News Online, 5 May 2006
  7. ^ Kentish Town by-election results, London Borough of Camden, 7 December 2006
  8. ^ Siân Berry's blog, New Statesman
  9. ^ Vote Berry… and Livingstone, New Statesman, 19 March 2008
  10. ^ Mayor tries to build coalition in attempt to defeat Johnson, The Guardian, 20 March 2008
  11. ^ London's unenviable choice points to Ken, The Guardian, 27 April 2008
  12. ^ If newspapers had a vote, this one would put its cross beside…, The Independent, 1 May 2008
  13. ^ Results: Mayor, London Elects, 2 May 2008
  14. ^ Tim Lamden. "Election results: Green Sian Berry halts unanimous Labour victory in Highgate". Hampstead Highgate Express. 
  15. ^ Tim Lamden. "Election results: Lib Dems decimated in Camden as Labour romp to victory". Hampstead Highgate Express. 
  16. ^ "Camden Labour celebrates record-breaking win in Town Hall elections - Camden New Journal". camdennewjournal.com. 
  17. ^ ROSAMUND URWIN (27 November 2015). "Sian Berry: Campaign meetings are harder when you live in an attic room". Evening Standard. 
  18. ^ Dave Hill. "London mayor race: the Green party vision of Sian Berry". the Guardian. 
  19. ^ "Alliance against Urban 4x4s Shop". Stopurban4x4s.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-07-01. 
  20. ^ "Domain for sale". censusalert.org.uk. 
  21. ^ "注文住宅で新築一戸建てを依頼する". fairpaynetwork.org. 
  22. ^ Siân joins new attack on poverty pay, Green Party of England and Wales, 25 February 2008
  23. ^ Reheat Britain website
  24. ^ "Siân Berry AM". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 30 June 2016. 
  25. ^ "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian. London. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  26. ^ "Sian Berry joins Campaign for Better Transport". Campaign for Better Transport media release. London. 7 June 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  27. ^ Rob Evans and Vikram Dodd (2016-04-28). "Police anti-extremism unit monitoring senior Green party figures | Politics | The Guardian". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 28 April 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-01. 
  28. ^ Siân Berry (2008), 50 Ways to Greener Travel, Kyle Books 
  29. ^ Siân Berry (2008), 50 Ways to Be a Greener Shopper, London, UK: Kyle Books, ISBN 978-1856267748, 1856267741 
  30. ^ Siân Berry (2008), 50 Ways to Save Water & Energy, London, UK: Kyle Books, ISBN 978-1856267731, 1856267733 
  31. ^ Siân Berry (2008), 50 Ways to Make Your House & Garden Greener, London, UK: Kyle Books, ISBN 978-1856267724, 1856267725 
  32. ^ Siân Berry (2009), Mend It!, London, UK: Kyle Books, ISBN 978-1856268813, 1856268810 
  33. ^ Siân Berry (2011), Junk for Joy!, Kyle Books, ISBN 978-1856269735, 1856269736 

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