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London’s deputy mayor for transport stands down

Words: Laura Edgar
Heidi Alexander / Christ McAndrew

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that Val Shawcross CBE is retiring from her role as the deputy mayor for transport. She will be replaced by Heidi Alexander (pictured).

Shawcross will be stepping back from a full-time public life after 18 years at the Greater London Authority (GLA). She has been the leader of Croydon Council and a London assembly member for 16 years, including eight years as the chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. Shawcross was the deputy mayor for transport since Khan became mayor in 2016.

Alexander has been the Labour MP for Lewisham East since 2010, but will step down to take up the deputy mayor for transport post. She is a previous mayor of Lewisham and member of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee.

This means a by-election will take place for her South London seat, where Labour won by more than 20,000 votes in last year's general election.

Shawcross will retire in the summer, with Alexander to take over then. Khan also intends to nominate Alexander to succeed Shawcross as the deputy chair of Transport for London.

Shawcross said: “It’s been a huge honour to work as deputy mayor for transport under Sadiq’s leadership, working with colleagues at the GLA and TfL to make our city a better and fairer place for every Londoner. Working as an assembly member and then deputy mayor, I hope I’ve played my part ensuring our city has a high-quality, affordable and accessible transport network that serves the needs of every Londoner, whatever their background.”

Alexander said: “After eight years as the member of Parliament for Lewisham East and six years as a local councillor, I know just how important it is we ensure everyone has access to a high-quality and affordable public transport network, with safe cycling routes across the capital. London is a fantastic city. I know Sadiq wants its transport system to be the envy of the world and I am looking forward to playing my part in making that happen.’