Template:Infobox Officeholder Siân Berry (born 9 July 1974 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire) 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. She was the party's candidate in the 2008 London mayoral election.
Early life and careerEdit
Born and raised in Cheltenham, Berry attended the selective Pate's Grammar School (where her father, John Berry, is a teacher). She attended Trinity College, Oxford, where she studied Metallurgy and the Science of Materials. Upon graduating in 1997, she moved to London.
Green Party politicianEdit
Berry joined the Green Party aged 28 whilst working as a medical copywriter for large pharmaceutical companies, which she then decided "conflicted" with her principles. She resigned, becoming increasingly politically active and beginning a new career in an ethical temping agency that dealt with a wide range of charitable organisations. She was, until recently, a website manager at Imperial College London but quit this job in order to focus on her mayoral campaign.
In her first major party political role as the Green Party Campaigns Co-ordinator, Berry spearheaded 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, which saw her travel to the nuclear submarine base in Faslane, Scotland, to protest.
Berry has narrowly missed being elected to Camden Council three times in local elections: once during 2002 and twice in 2006. In the 2002 local elections, she came fifth in the Highgate ward with 811 votes, just two votes behind a Conservative candidate in fourth place and 38 votes behind the third place required to gain a seat. The 2006 Local Elections would see her contest the Kentish Town ward, in which she gained 1,057 votes and came sixth, 156 votes short of third place. A 7 December 2006 by-election in the Kentish Town ward saw her come second with 812 votes, behind the Liberal Democrat winner who polled 1093 votes.
Berry was elected as the Green Party's Female Principal Speaker unopposed in Autumn 2006, succeeding Dr Caroline Lucas MEP and, working alongside male Principal Speaker Dr Derek Wall, served until Autumn 2007 when Dr Lucas resumed the post following an election. She currently writes a regularly featured blog for the New Statesman current affairs magazine.
On March 12 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. Berry recommended that her voters back Labour Party candidate Ken Livingstone as their second preference and Livingstone did likewise. Berry was endorsed by The Independent and The Observer newspapers, with Ken Livingstone as second preference.. Berry came fourth, with 3.15% of first preferences and 13.50% of second preferences. This is the highest the Green Party has ever come in a London Mayoral election, with her predecessor Darren Johnson coming seventh in both the 2000 and 2004 mayoral elections.
Berry was a founder of the Alliance against Urban 4×4s, which started in Camden in 2003 and became a national campaign demanding measures to stop 4x4s (known in the United States as sport utility vehicles) "taking over our cities". The campaign is notorious for its "theatrical demonstrations" and spoof parking tickets, credited to Berry (although now adapted by numerous local groups), 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.
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.
- Official website
- Biography on the Green Party website
- Sian Berry's blog at the New Statesman
- Alliance Against Urban 4x4s
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