Ted Knight (politician)


Ted Knight (politician)

Ted Knight was a controversial local politician in England in the 1980s. He was leader of Lambeth London Borough Council and known as one of the "loony left".

During the local government finance and rates capping crisis of the mid-1980s, 30 left-wing Labour councils initially refused to comply with the Rates Act 1984, which required them to limit the amount of tax they levied to homeowners and businesses. All the councils eventually backed down except for Liverpool and Lambeth.

As a result, in 1986, he was found to be acting "ultra vires" and was forced to resign by the district auditor. He and 30 colleagues were later surcharged a total of £100,000 plus costs of £80,000 and banned from office for ten years. Neil Kinnock blamed leaders like Knight and Linda Bellos from Lambeth, for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.

Knight's real significance was the influence he exerted on Ken Livingstone, later Leader of the Greater London Council and Mayor of London. Knight had been expelled from the Labour Party in 1954 for extremism 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.

He had some links with the Workers Revolutionary Party. At one point he only narrowly missed being selected as the Labour candidate for Coventry North East.

Knight retired into political obscurity after being expelled from office, 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.

He still lives in Norwood on Gipsy Hill in a house with a brass plate reading 'Edward Knight.'

Knight currently serves on and was elected to the National Committee of the Labour Representation Committee (2004) at their AGM on the 17th of November, 2007.


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