Welcome to Policy Review TV - to access more content or redeem your conference voucher.

Speaker Biography

Sir Robin Wales

Sir Robin Wales
Sir Robin Wales

Robin moved to Newham in 1978 from his hometown of Kilmarnock in Scotland after gaining a BSc in chemistry from Glasgow University. He worked locally for BT then and appreciated the good value housing. At the time the friendliness of Newham’s people and the strength and warmth of local communities struck him, and it’s great to see that that aspect of the borough has not changed.

Robin wanted to get involved in local politics here because of what it can deliver for ordinary people. “Politics is about changing peoples' lives for the better. That means making sure that the council delivers the best services possible to Newham’s residents. It also means representing Newham effectively on the national and international stage so we can take advantage of the biggest opportunities.”

He has been part of local government since 1982 and served as a councillor from 1982 to 1986 and from 1992 until becoming Leader of Newham Council in 1995. In 2002 he won the election to be the borough’s first ever directly elected Mayor and was subsequently re-elected in 2006. In the Birthday Honours' List 2000, He was awarded a knighthood in recognition of his service to local government. Robin had the honour of leading the Association of London Government (ALG) between 2000 and 2006. The ALG is an organisation which represents London as a whole, nationally and abroad.

In 2006 he was appointed by the Secretary of State to sit on the board of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG). I use my position on this board to argue for Newham and to ensure that the Olympics deliver the regeneration we need.

He is proud to be the first elected Mayor, and proud to continue the strong Labour tradition in Newham. The very first Labour council elected in the country was in West Ham and East Londoners elected the first Labour MP, Keir Hardie, in West Ham. And then, some 115 years later, the first directly elected Labour Mayor was Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham.

Source: Speaker
Updated: November 2007