Ken Livingstone was born in Lambeth in 1945 and educated at Tulse Hill Comprehensive School. After eight years working as a technician at the Chester Beatty Cancer Research Institute in London, he entered Phillipa Fawcett Teacher Training College, qualifying in 1973.
He was a Labour member of Lambeth Council between 1971 and 1978, holding the position of Vice-Chair of the Housing Committee from 1971 to 1973. From 1978 to 1982 he was a member of Camden Council, where he was Chair of the Housing Committee from 1978 to 1980.
In 1973 he was elected as a Labour member of the Greater London Council. He was Vice-Chair of Housing Management from 1974 to 1975 and was elected Leader in 1981. He remained Leader until March 1986 when Margaret Thatcher abolished the GLC.
From 1987 to June 2001, he served as Labour Member of Parliament for Brent East. He was elected as member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party between 1987 to 1989, and from 1997 to 1998, defeating Peter Mandelson to gain election.
He has written two books, If Voting Changed Anything They'd Abolish It (1987) and Livingstone's Labour (1989).