Darren Johnson


Darren Johnson
Cllr. Darren Johnson AM
Member of the London Assembly
for the Green Party (London-wide)
Incumbent
Assumed office
4 May 2000
Personal details
Born 1966 (age 44–45)
Southport, Lancashire
Nationality British
Political party Green Party
Domestic partner Dean Walton
Alma mater Goldsmiths, University of London

Darren Paul Johnson (born in 1966 in Southport, Lancashire)[1] is an English politician and prominent member of the Green Party of England and Wales. He represents the Green Party in the London Assembly and is the only Green councillor in the London Borough of Lewisham.

Johnson, who is openly gay, lives in Brockley, Lewisham, with his long-term partner and former borough councillor, Dean Walton.

Contents

Early life and career

At school, Johnson studied A-Levels in English, Theatre Studies and Journalistic Studies. Johnson admitted to his "shame" that his first foray into politics was standing in a school mock election in 1979 as a Conservative Party candidate.[1]

He lived in Hull for three years before moving with a friend to Wembley in London in 1990. He also lived in Finsbury Park and Golders Green before settling in Lewisham. His first job in London was "in accounts with an advertising firm in Goodge Street". He took a degree at Goldsmiths College (part of the University of London) in 1994, eventually gaining a first-class BA (hons.) degree in Politics and Economics.[1][2] He apparently "started to work on his PhD until the London Assembly distracted him".[3] He was also once a "paid consultant to Friends of the Earth".[4]

Political career

Johnson joined the Green Party in 1987 at the age of 20[2] "after the Chernobyl Disaster",[1] which "had a big impact" on him.[5] He was Male Principal Speaker of the party in 2002.[6]

According to the Knitting Circle (a website with "resources on lesbian and gay issues"), his campaigning experience includes infiltrating "the military base at Aldershot dressed as Ivan the Terrible during an arms fair. He was saluted by the guards as he drove through the gates in a large limousine with tinted windows. He tried to buy arms with Monopoly money".[3]

London Assembly member

In 2000, Johnson was elected to the inaugural London Assembly as part of a three-strong Green Group, including Jenny Jones AM and Victor Anderson (who resigned in March 2003 and was replaced by Noel Lynch for the remainder of the term). The 2004 elections would see the Greens lose the seat held by Lynch, leaving Johnson and Jones as the two remaining members of the Green Group.[2] Both won re-election in the 2008 election, when the Greens held on to their two seats. He served as Deputy Chair of the Assembly 2008-9 and was elected Chair of the Assembly in May 2009.[7]

As a London Assembly Member, Johnson is Deputy Chair of the Business Management and Administration Committee, and a member of both the Budget and Performance Committee and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA).[7] Johnson has issued a report on the sustainability measures involved planning for London’s hosting of the Olympics in 2012,[8] and has also chaired an inquiry on nuclear waste trains for the London Assembly.[9] He is also Deputy Chair of the Environment Committee (after chairing between 2004/5 and 2008/09). The committee has produced a number of reports,[10] including investigations into the loss of street trees,[11] and the effects of paving over front gardens in the city.[12]

Lewisham councillor

In the 2002 local elections, Johnson was elected as a councillor for the Brockley ward in the London Borough of Lewisham, the Greens' first councillor in Lewisham,[2] polling 1026 votes and coming top in the ward.[13] He was re-elected in 2006, when the Greens gained a further five seats on Lewisham London Borough Council.[2] He came top of the ward again, polling 1583 votes.[14] In 2010, he was the only Green councillor in Lewisham to be re-elected.

In his time on Lewisham London Borough Council, Johnson has been successful in getting the council to adopt a Fair Trade policy. He has opposed the closure of Ladywell Leisure Centre and put forward alternative sites for a new school. He successfully campaigned for a new pedestrian crossing on Brockley Road, secured improvements to the traffic calming scheme and managed to halt evictions at St Norberts Allotments.[15] He is or has been a member of Lewisham London Borough Council's Council Urgency Committee, Elections Committee, Licensing (Supplementary) Committee, Licensing Committee, Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Marsha Phoenix Memorial Trust. He has represented Lewisham London Borough Council on the Local Government Association General Assembly.[16]

Mayoral candidate

Johnson was the Green Party's candidate for Mayor of London in 2000 and 2004. In the 2000 election, he won 2.2% of first preference votes (38,121 votes), taking sixth place. He also came third in unallocated second preference votes with 192,764 second preferences (13.6%), thus coming fifth overall. In the 2004 election, he received 57,331 votes in the first round (2.9%) taking seventh place, and took 10.9% of unallocated second preferences (208,686).

Johnson chose not to seek selection as mayoral candidate for a third time. On 12 March 2007, the London Green Party voted to select Siân Berry as their mayoral candidate in the 2008 mayoral election, replacing Johnson.[17]

Parliamentary candidate

Johnson is the Green Party's parliamentary candidate in the Lewisham Deptford constituency. He came fourth in the constituency in the 2001 general election, polling 1,901 votes (6.5%). In the 2005 general election, Johnson, backed by the Fire Brigades Union (after being the only London Assembly member to vote against cuts in the brigade), received 11.1% of the votes (3,367 votes), coming fourth. In the 2010 General Election he came fourth again but his votes slipped back to 2,772 (6.7%).

References

  1. ^ a b c d "England | London | My London: Darren Johnson". BBC News. 2004-05-28. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/3746561.stm. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Darren Johnson's Green Party Biography". Greenparty.org.uk. http://www.greenparty.org.uk/individual/83. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b Knitting Circle Darren Johnson[dead link]
  4. ^ "Battle for London | Candidates | Darren Johnson". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/special_report/1999/11/99/battle_for_london/candidates/d_johnson.stm. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Green World Interview". Greenworld.org.uk. http://www.greenworld.org.uk/page55/page70/page68/page68.html. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  6. ^ "Green Party News Johnson's final address to conference". Greenparty.org.uk. 2002-03-17. http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/21. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  7. ^ a b "London Assembly Biography". London.gov.uk. http://www.london.gov.uk/profile/darren-johnson. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  8. ^ “On the Right Track?” Report, Darren Johnson, 2009.
  9. ^ Nuclear Waste Trains Investigative Committee Scrutiny Report 2001.
  10. ^ "London Assembly Environment Committee". London.gov.uk. http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/the-london-assembly/publications/environment. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  11. ^ “Chainsaw Massacre: A review of London's street trees” Report, Environment Committee, 2007.
  12. ^ “Crazy Paving: The environmental importance of London’s front gardens” Report, Environment Committee, 2005.
  13. ^ "Lewisham Council Election Results 2002" (PDF). http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/93FF44F2-1ECF-4746-8263-17503BDF454A/0/LocalResults2002.pdf. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  14. ^ Lewisham Council Election Results 2006[dead link]
  15. ^ Darren Johnson's Lewisham Green Party Biography[dead link]
  16. ^ "Darren Johnson's Lewisham Council Biography". Lewisham.gov.uk. 2002-05-04. http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/ElectedRepresentatives/Councillors/DarrenJohnson/default.htm. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  17. ^ "Politics | Berry is Green mayoral candidate". BBC News. 2007-03-12. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6441519.stm. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Woodin
Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales
2001–2003
Succeeded by
Mike Woodin

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