Boris Johnson

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Posted by motoman 03/29/2009 @ 12:12

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Will Boris Johnson's piano plan hit the right note for London? - guardian.co.uk
Boris Johnson. Photograph: Ray Tang/Rex Features The mayor of London is going to put 31 pianos around the capital for three weeks from the end of June, with only a couple of metal chains and a laminated songbook for protection against the wiles of...
MPs criticise Boris Johnson over snow action - Reuters UK
LONDON (Reuters) - London Mayor Boris Johnson did not do enough and failed to provide leadership to help avert the chaos caused by the heaviest snowfall in the capital for decades earlier this year, a committee of MPs said on Friday....
MP 'devastated' over Facebook profile hack - Register
"I am devastated," the Boris Johnson lookalike writes. "This has never happened to me before and I can only apologise. "If any of my Facebook Friends get a message from me called 'Look at this' - Don't! I did when I received a similar message and look...
Boris Johnson may revive low emission zone plans - guardian.co.uk
Photograph: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images Boris Johnson today raised the prospect of establishing new low emission zones in London's pollution hotspots – just months after suspending further development of a pan-London scheme already in place....
Union Criticises Boris Booze Ban - Londonist
Bob Crow had some choice words for Boris Johnson last year after thousands partied on the Circle Line to celebrate the end of an era, leading to travel chaos. We can't help thinking it's a bit rich for RMT, the arch-overlords of travel chaos,...
Union calls for talks with Boris Johnson in attempt to avert tube ... - guardian.co.uk
The general secretary of the RMT union, Bob Crow, today called for direct talks with, the London mayor, Boris Johnson, in an attempt to avoid a 48-hour tube strike next month. London underground members of the union are set to walk out for two days...
News from Brian Coleman: Coleman criticises expense of Tamil protests - Media Newswire (press release)
His comments follow a written answer from Mayor Boris Johnson, which said that the cost to the Metropolitan Police of policing the protests between April 6 and May 18 is £7.94million. (Media-Newswire.com) - London Assembly member, Brian Coleman,...
Gipsie sites to double in London over next decade, say Boris Johnson - Daily Mail
By Daily Mail Reporter London mayor Boris Johnson is planning to double the number of sites for travellers and gipsies across the city. There will be 768 caravan pitches created in eight years, taking the number of permanent pitches to almost 1500....
Boris Johnson raises London living wage to £7.60 - guardian.co.uk
The London mayor, Boris Johnson, today raised the capital's "living wage" by 15p to £7.60 per hour. The decision came after it emerged that London faces the worst rates of inequality and child poverty in the country. Johnson said there was still a...
London mayor urges speed-up on security planning for 2012 Olympics - Brandon Sun
LONDON - Mayor Boris Johnson says authorities must speed up planning for security at London's 2012 Olympic Games. But Johnson told a Commons committee Tuesday that the British capital won't mimic what he called Beijing's "oppressive" security during...

Boris Johnson

Johnson pledged to reinstate Routemaster buses if elected Mayor.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (born 19 June 1964) is an American-born English politician and journalist. The current Mayor of London, he previously served as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Henley-on-Thames and as editor of The Spectator magazine.

Johnson was educated at Eton College and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Classics. He began his career in journalism with The Times, and later moved on to The Daily Telegraph where he was assistant editor. He was appointed editor of The Spectator in 1999. In the 2001 general election he was elected to the House of Commons and became one of the most high profile politicians in the country, partly because of his distinctive appearance and persona. He gained praise for several appearances on the Have I Got News for You television programme, but received negative headlines in October 2004 after an editorial column in The Spectator criticised the people of Liverpool after the death of Kenneth Bigley. He has also written several books.

Under Michael Howard, Johnson briefly served on the Conservative front bench as the Shadow Minister for the Arts from April 2004 until November 2004 when he was sacked after allegedly lying to Howard when denying he had had an affair with Petronella Wyatt. When contemporary David Cameron was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 2005, Johnson was re-appointed to the front bench as Shadow Minister for Higher Education and resigned as editor of The Spectator to concentrate on his new role. In September 2007 he was selected as the Conservative candidate for the 2008 Mayor of London election. Johnson defeated Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone and was elected Mayor, after which he resigned as an MP.

Johnson is the eldest of the four children of Stanley Johnson, a former Conservative MEP and employee of the European Commission and World Bank, and his first wife, painter Charlotte Fawcett (later Wahl), the daughter of Sir James Fawcett, a prominent barrister and president of the European Commission of Human Rights.

On his father's side Johnson is great-grandson of Ali Kemal Bey, a liberal Turkish journalist and the interior minister in the government of Damat Ferid Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, who was murdered during the Turkish War of Independence. During World War I, Boris's grandfather and great aunt were recognised as British subjects and took their grandmother's maiden name of Johnson. In reference to his cosmopolitan ancestry, Johnson has described himself as a "one-man melting pot" — with a combination of Muslims, Jews and Christians comprising his great-grandparentage. His father's maternal grandmother, Marie Louise de Pfeffel, was a descendent of Prince Paul of Württemberg through his relationship with a German actress. Through Prince Paul, Johnson is a descendent of King George II of Great Britain, and through George's great-great-great grandfather King James I of England, a descendent of all the previous British royal houses.

Johnson was born in New York City, but his family returned to England soon afterwards as his mother had yet to take her Oxford University finals exams. Johnson's sister Rachel was born a year later. As a child, Boris Johnson suffered from severe deafness and had to undergo several operations to have grommets inserted in his ears, and was reportedly rather quiet as a child. He was educated at the European School in Brussels, Ashdown House and then at Eton College, where he was a King's Scholar. He read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, as a Brackenbury scholar, and was elected President of the Oxford Union, at his second attempt. Frank Luntz and Radosław Sikorski have claimed Johnson touted himself as a supporter of the Social Democratic Party, then a dominant current at the university, as a strategy to win the Union presidency, though Johnson denies he was more than the SDP's preferred candidate. Along with David Cameron he was a member of Oxford's Bullingdon Club, a student dining society known for its raucous feasts.

In 1987 he married Allegra Mostyn-Owen but the marriage was dissolved in 1993. Later that year, he married Marina Wheeler, a barrister, the daughter of journalist and broadcaster Sir Charles Wheeler and his Sikh Indian wife, Dip Singh. The Wheeler and Johnson families have known each other for decades, and Marina Wheeler was at the European School in Brussels at the same time as her future husband. They have two sons—Theodore Apollo (born 1999) and Milo Arthur (born 1995)—and two daughters—Lara Lettice (born 1993) and Cassia Peaches (born 1997). Boris Johnson and his family currently live in Holloway, North London. Boris's current stepmother, Jenny, the second wife of his father Stanley, is also the stepdaughter of Edward Sieff, the former chairman of Marks & Spencer.

Upon graduating from Oxford, he lasted a week as a management consultant at L.E.K. Consulting ("Try as I might, I could not look at an overhead projection of a growth profit matrix, and stay conscious"), before becoming a trainee reporter for The Times. Within a year he was sacked for falsifying a quotation from his godfather, Colin Lucas, later vice-chancellor of Oxford University. After a short time as a writer for the Wolverhampton Express & Star, he joined The Daily Telegraph in 1987 as leader and feature writer, and from 1989 to 1994 was the paper's European Community correspondent. He served as assistant editor from 1994 to 1999. His association with The Spectator began as political columnist from 1994 to 1995. In 1999 he became editor of The Spectator, where he stayed until December 2005 upon being appointed Shadow Minister for Higher Education.

He wrote an autobiographical account of his experience of the 2001 election campaign Friends, Voters, Countrymen: Jottings on the Stump. He is also author of three collections of journalism, Johnson's Column, Lend Me Your Ears and Have I Got Views For You. His comic first novel Seventy-Two Virgins was published in 2004, and his next book will be The New British Revolution, though he has put publication on hold until after the London Mayoral election. He was nominated in 2004 for a British Academy Television Award, and has attracted several unofficial fan clubs and sites. His official website and blog started in September, 2004.

Johnson is a popular historian and his first documentary series, The Dream of Rome, comparing the Roman Empire and the modern-day European Union, was broadcast in 2006.

After being elected mayor, he announced that he'd be resuming his weekly column for The Daily Telegraph. The Guardian reported that he had agreed a £250,000 annual salary for doing so. The report added that he will donate £25,000 each towards two scholarships: one for students of journalism, and the other for the teaching of classics.

After having been defeated in Clwyd South in the 1997 general election, Johnson was elected MP for Henley, succeeding Michael Heseltine, in the 2001 General Election. He described this election in his 2002 book, Friends, Voters, Countrymen. In 2004 he was appointed to the front bench as Shadow Minister for the Arts in a small reshuffle resulting from the resignation of the Shadow Home Affairs Spokesman, Nick Hawkins. He was also from November 2003 vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, with an emphasis on campaigning.

Johnson was dismissed from these high-profile posts in November, 2004 over accusations that he lied to Michael Howard about a four-year extramarital affair with Petronella Wyatt, The Spectator's New York correspondent and former deputy editor. Johnson derided these allegations as "an inverted pyramid of piffle", but Howard sacked Johnson because he believed press reports showed Johnson had lied, rather than for the affair itself.

He was appointed Shadow Minister for Higher Education on 9 December 2005 by new Conservative Leader David Cameron, and resigned as editor of The Spectator soon afterwards. On 2 April 2006 it was alleged in the News of the World that Johnson had had another extramarital affair, this time with Times Higher Education Supplement journalist Anna Fazackerley. The video shows him emerging from her flat and waving to her in a taxi. Subsequently, in a speech at the University of Exeter concerning student finance, he allegedly made comical remarks about his gratitude to the audience for not "raising other issues" during the talk, which may have been a reference to the allegations. A report in The Times stated that Cameron regarded the possible affair as a private matter, and that Johnson would not lose his job over it.

Johnson stood for the February 2006 election of Rector of the University of Edinburgh, after receiving seven times more nominations than needed to stand. His presence as candidate caused an unprecedented turn-out and sparked an "Anyone but Boris" campaign. Protests included having drinks thrown over him at his first of two visits to the student body. Johnson eventually polled third of four, with 2,123 votes, behind 3,052 votes for journalist Magnus Linklater and 3,597 for Green Party MSP Mark Ballard. Johnson was quoted as having been pleased to mobilise the student body, but disappointed at the personal campaign against him as an "English top-up fee merchant".

In September 2006, his image was used in 'Boris needs you' and 'I Love Boris' material to promote the Conservative Party's image during Freshers' Week in universities.

After several days of speculation, Johnson announced he was a potential Conservative candidate for the London mayoral election in 2008 on 16 July 2007. Reported as saying "the opportunity is too great and the prize too wonderful to miss ... the chance to represent London and speak for Londoners", he resigned as Shadow Minister for Higher Education. He was confirmed as the Conservative candidate on 27 September 2007 after gaining 75% of the vote in a public London wide primary.

The Conservative Party hired Australian election strategist Lynton Crosby to run Johnson's campaign. Aware of Johnson's proneness to committing gaffes, Crosby prevented him from holding interviews with the print and broadcast media in favour of radio talk shows and daytime television which asked "easier" questions. Crosby also made Johnson tell fewer jokes and have a simpler haircut to help make him appear more serious. The campaign targeted Conservative leaning suburbs in outer London to capitalise on a sense of detachment with the Livingstone administration which had focused on inner London areas as Mayor.

His campaign was launched in Edmonton in March 2008 when David Cameron, introducing Johnson, commented "I don't always agree with him but I respect the fact that he's absolutely his own man." His manifesto included pledges to cut crime by increasing police presence on public transport and removing red tape in the Metropolitan Police Service, as well as ending the "waste and overspending" of Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone. He also made a high profile pledge to scrap controversial articulated "bendy" buses and replace them with modern designs of the iconic Routemaster bus.

Johnson's candidature received opposition from across the political spectrum. Right-wing journalists Simon Heffer and Peregrine Worsthorne described Johnson as not being serious enough to hold the role of Mayor of London, Worsthorne noting that the "harder he tried , the more insincere, incoherent, evasive and even puerile he looked and sounded". Ken Livingstone described Johnson as "a joke". Left of centre commentators claimed that Johnson was not suited to be Mayor of such an ethnically diverse city because he had previously made comments which they interpreted as racist, a situation exacerbated when the British National Party urged its supporters to give their second preference votes to Johnson. Johnson denied allegations of racism and stated that he did not want any BNP supporters to vote for him.

Johnson's candidacy was the subject of international interest. Germany's Der Spiegel and America's National Public Radio reported the race, both quoting Johnson as saying "if you vote for the Conservatives, your wife will get bigger breasts, and your chances of driving a BMW M3 will increase", without however giving a source for this; the BBC has quoted the same statement by him from his 2004 campaign trail.

Though most pollsters—with the exception of YouGov which accurately forecast the final result—predicted either a close result or narrow win for Livingstone, it was announced on 2 May 2008 Johnson had garnered a total of 1,168,738 first and second preference votes to Livingstone's 1,028,966. Johnson benefited from a large voter turnout in Conservative strongholds, in particular Bexley and Bromley where he amassed a majority of over 80,000 over Livingstone. Following his victory, he praised Livingstone as a "very considerable public servant" and added that he hoped to "discover a way in which the mayoralty can continue to benefit from your transparent love of London". He also announced that, as a result of his victory, he would resign as Member of Parliament for Henley.

He celebrated his election victory at Altitude 360 located in Millbank Tower. It was here that David Cameron and all his supporters gathered to congratulate him on becoming Mayor of London.

Johnson assumed control at City Hall on 4 May 2008. He appointed Richard Barnes as his Deputy Mayor on 6 May 2008, as well as appointing the following to newly devolved offices; Ian Clement as Deputy Mayor for Government Relations, Kit Malthouse as Deputy Mayor for Policing and Ray Lewis as Deputy Mayor for Young People.

The Mayor also appointed Munira Mirza as his cultural adviser and Nick Boles, the founder of Policy Exchange, as Chief of Staff. Sir Simon Milton has become Senior Adviser for Planning.

Political opponents questioned Johnson's judgement when Ray Lewis resigned on 4 July 2008, shortly after taking up his post, following allegations of financial misconduct during his prior career as a Church of England priest and inappropriate behaviour in respect of a false claim to have been appointed as a magistrate. Hazel Blears, the UK Communities Secretary, said that "People across the country will note that after just two months, the new Tory administration in London is in complete disarray. Londoners need to know what Boris knew and why the situation has changed." Kit Malthouse however, London's Deputy Mayor for Policing, defended Lewis and said that he had "dedicated himself to saving young lives in London", regarding his policies on tackling knife crime, and called the Labour Party "ungracious" and accused them of "dancing on his political grave". Johnson himself said that he was "misled" by Lewis.

On 7 May 2008, Johnson announced plans to ban the consumption of alcohol on the London transport network, effective from 1 June, a policy described by Jeroen Weimar, Transport for London's director of transport policing and enforcement, as reasonable, saying people should be more considerate on the trains. The ban initially applies on the London Underground, Buses, DLR and Croydon Trams. The London Overground will be added later in June 2008. Press releases said that the ban would apply to "stations across the capital", but did not specify whether this included National Rail stations - especially those stations not served by the TfL lines on which alcohol is banned.

On the final evening on which alcohol was to be permitted on London transport, thousands of drinkers descended on the Underground system to mark the event. Six London Underground stations were closed as trouble began, and a number of staff and police were assaulted. Police made 17 arrests as several trains were damaged and withdrawn from service.

The formation of the Forensic Audit Panel was announced on 8 May 2008. The Panel is tasked with monitoring and investigating financial management at the London Development Agency and the Greater London Authority. It will be headed by Patience Wheatcroft, former editor of The Sunday Telegraph. Previously the GLA would investigate allegations of financial mismanagement itself.

Johnson's announcement was criticised by Labour for the perceived politicisation of this nominally independent panel, who asked if the appointment of these key Johnson allies to the panel - "to dig dirt on Ken Livingstone" - was "an appropriate use of public funds". Wheatcroft is married to a Conservative councilor and three of the four remaining panel members also have close links to the Conservatives: Stephen Greenhalgh (Conservative Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council), Patrick Frederick (Chairman of Conservative Business Relations for South East England and Southern London) and Edward Lister (Conservative Leader of Wandsworth Council).

Johnson was present at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing as London's representative to receive the Olympic flag from Guo Jinlong, the Mayor of Beijing in order to announce formally London as Olympic host city. He was accused by a Chinese blogger of being "rude, arrogant and disrespectful" for accepting the Olympic flag with one hand, putting his hands in his pockets and not buttoning up his jacket. At the subsequent handover party held at London House in Beijing, he gave a speech in which he declared 'ping pong is coming home'.

In August 2008, Johnson broke from the traditional procedure of those in public office not publicly commenting on other nations' elections when he openly endorsed then-Senator Barack Obama for the presidency of the United States. He later wrote an editorial in The Telegraph explaining his decision.

Johnson has appeared on the British television programme Have I Got News for You four times as a guest presenter and three times as a panellist. The tabloid press, before he became an MP, tagged him as the show's star, even though he had then appeared only twice on a programme that had run for ten years. He has also taken part in the similar Radio 4 programme, The News Quiz.

By his third appearance, Johnson had been elected to Parliament. He was subjected to a surprise Mastermind parody round, where he began by getting his own name "wrong", saying "my name is Boris Johnson" and then being corrected by the host, Angus Deayton, who proceeded to quote his full birth name, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. He was then given questions about his party's leader, Iain Duncan Smith. Despite claiming to be an admirer and supporter of his leader, Johnson proceeded to get no questions correct, whilst constantly questioning the need for such a round. He also admitted during this show he had forgotten the title of his own book as he was writing it.

In 2004, Johnson was nominated for a BAFTA Television Award in the entertainment category for his performance on the show in 2003. Johnson returned to front Have I Got News for You in November 2005. He admitted on the show that he once tried to snort cocaine, but sneezed and failed. He also hosted Have I Got News for You's Christmas special on 15 December 2006, his fourth appearance as host.

On the DVD commentary of The Very Best of Have I Got News for You, Merton and Hislop affectionately refer to Johnson as "a Wodehousian character", and stated that "he gets better every time".

Johnson has appeared on television motoring show Top Gear as a "star in a reasonably priced car" (one of the show's features). He set a time of 1m 56s in the Suzuki Liana, finishing nine places from the bottom before they changed car. While nearing the end of his timed lap, he failed to realise that he had accidentally pressed the horn with his arm. After hearing the noise he looked around puzzled and said, "Who hooted at me?" He returned to the show on 7 December 2008, spinning out on every corner during test runs, before setting a lap time of 1m 57.4s in the Chevrolet Lacetti. His potentially "disastrous" time was due to the "very wet" conditions.

Appearing in 2003, Johnson nominated boiled eggs, Lynda Lee Potter, smoking bans, Richard Clayderman and people who shout at him whilst he's cycling as his selections to put into Room 101, with only the last of the five being rejected. He claimed that his refusal to eat eggs from the age of 6 months was his "first major policy decision".

Johnson presented a BBC TV series titled The Dream of Rome, which questioned how ancient Rome managed to unite Europe in a way the modern European Union has failed to. A book published by HarperCollins followed the series.

Originally broadcast on ITV1 on 28 April 2007, Johnson was a guest on The Dame Edna Treatment. He rode a bicycle onto the stage and sat alongside Shane Warne, Alan Alda and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

On 20 August 2008 Johnson was the subject of the BBC family history programme Who Do You Think You Are?. He was revealed to be a direct, if illegitimate, descendant of George II of Great Britain through his eight times grandmother Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, granddaughter of George II and wife of Friedrich I of Württemberg, and thence through their son Prince Paul of Württemberg and Paul's illegitimate daughter, Adelheid von Rothenburg. Adelheid (known as Caroline) married Baron de Pfeffel, from whom Boris takes one of his middle names. By his descent from George II of Great Britain he is also descendant of all the other major European royal houses. His Turkish great grandfather, Ali Kemal Bey, who was also, like Johnson, a politician and journalist, was assassinated in the 1920s following political conflict in Turkey.

In December 2008 BBC2 aired a two-part documentary written and presented by Johnson, called After Rome, in which he looks at the impact Muslims have made in the world, especially in the European sector during the peak of the Islamic Empire (specifically drawn from the Islamic Golden Age). In this he investigated the current crisis of the "clash of civilisations" between Christianity and Islam, searching for a viable reason on why Islam is hated in the West, and vice versa.

Johnson is one of the most recognisable figures in British politics — partly attributable to his trademark unruly hairstyle (one exception to this trademark was during the 2008 Olympics). He is one of few British politicians identifiable by his first name alone. Reportedly, fearing that this familiarity made him more likeable and was helping his chances during the London Mayoral Campaign, Labour MP Tessa Jowell set up a 'swearbox' where any campaign member referring to him as 'Boris' would pay a fine. Jowell herself denied these claims.

Johnson has been a frequent target for satirists. The magazine Private Eye pictured him on the front cover of issues 1120 (26 November 2004), 1156 (14 April 2006), and 1214 (11 July 2008). He has featured regularly in its cartoon strip (currently called Dave Snooty and his Pals) as "Boris the Menace" (cf. Dennis the Menace).

To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia — fear of Islam — seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke. Judged purely on its scripture — to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques — it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers.

The trouble with this disgusting arrogance and condescension is that it is widely supported in Koranic texts, and we look in vain for the enlightened Islamic teachers and preachers who will begin the process of reform. What is going on in these mosques and madrasas? When is someone going to get 18th century on Islam’s mediaeval ass?

He has shown himself to be outspoken on issues which are treated by some as belonging to the realms of political correctness. In Friends, Voters, Countrymen (2001), Johnson wrote that "if gay marriage was OK - and I was uncertain on the issue - then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog." In recent years Johnson has played down his previous support for Section 28.

Johnson is known for his love of cycling and regularly cycles to work. He has been the victim of several bike thefts and has expressed his desire to plant "decoy bicycles throughout Islington and send Navy Seals in through the windows of thieves".

Johnson was criticised in 1995, when a recording of a telephone conversation made in 1990 was made public, in which he is heard agreeing to supply to a former schoolmate, Darius Guppy, the address of the News of the World journalist Stuart Collier. Guppy wished to have Collier beaten up for attempting to smear members of his family. Collier was not attacked, but Johnson did not alert the police and the incident only became public knowledge when a transcript of the conversation was published in the Mail on Sunday. Johnson retained his job at the Telegraph but was reprimanded by its editor Max Hastings.

Boris Johnson has been investigated by the police for the 'theft', in 2003, of a cigar case belonging to Tariq Aziz, an associate of Saddam Hussein, which Johnson had found in the rubble of Aziz's house in Baghdad. At the time, Johnson wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph, stating he had taken the cigar case and would return it to its owner upon request. Despite this admission in 2003, Johnson received no indication from the police that he was being investigated for theft until 2008, leading supporters of Johnson to express suspicion that the investigation coincided with his candidacy for the position of London Mayor. "This is a monumental waste of time," said Johnson. On 24 June 2008, Johnson was forced to hand the cigar case over to police while they carried out enquiries into whether the Iraq (UN Sanctions) Order 2003 had been breached.

Although Johnson had not written the piece (journalist Simon Heffer later said he "had a hand" in it), he accepted responsibility for its publication. The Conservative leader at the time, Michael Howard (a supporter of Liverpool FC), condemned the editorial, saying "I think what was said in The Spectator was nonsense from beginning to end", and sent Johnson on a tour of contrition to the city. There, in numerous interviews and public appearances, Johnson defended the editorial's thesis (that the deaths of figures such as Bigley and Diana, Princess of Wales, were over-sentimentalised); but he apologised for the article's wording and for using Liverpool and Bigley's death as examples, saying "I think the article was too trenchantly expressed but we were trying to make a point about sentimentality". Michael Howard resisted calls to dismiss Johnson over the Bigley affair, but dismissed him the next month over the Wyatt revelations.

In April 2007 Johnson was called upon to resign by the MPs for the city of Portsmouth after claiming in a column for GQ that the city was "one of the most depressed towns in Southern England, a place that is arguably too full of drugs, obesity, underachievement and Labour MPs".

Two days after Boris Johnson's candidacy for Mayor of London took a six point poll lead over Ken Livingstone in a YouGov survey published by the Daily Telegraph, Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, said that he would 'destroy London's unity', adding that 'once people read his views, there is no way he is going to get the support of any people in the black community'. She was referring especially to the occasion on which Johnson, as a journalist in 1999, accused the Macpherson Inquiry, which reported on police racism following the Lawrence murder, of 'hysteria', adding that the "recommendation that the law might be changed so as to allow prosecution for racist language or behaviour 'other than in a public place'" was akin to "Ceausescu's Romania".

The Conservative London Assembly candidate for Bexley and Bromley and former Conservative candidate for mayor of Lewisham, James Cleverly, another black Londoner, rejected Lawrence's criticisms.

These remarks were followed by criticism from two black Labour London MPs, Diane Abbott and Dawn Butler, who criticised a column written by Johnson in 2002, saying he had used "most offensive language of the colonial past", showing "that the Tory party is riddled with racial prejudice". In the article in question, written to satirise the Prime Minister's visit to Congo, Johnson mocked "Supertone" (Tony Blair) for his brief visits to world trouble spots, bringing peace to the world while the UK deteriorated; Blair would arrive as "the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief", just as "it is said the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies". Although these remarks were intended as a satirical dig at the patronising attitude of Blair and the Queen towards foreigners, the choice of language was tactless and left Johnson exposed to allegations of racism.

A formal complaint against Johnson was filed on 6 December by Len Duvall, alleging that Johnson "is guilty of four 'clear and serious' code of conduct breaches by speaking to Green, an arrested suspect in an ongoing criminal investigation, and publicly prejudging the outcome of the police inquiry following a private briefing by senior officers" and that Johnson has brought the office of Mayor "into disrepute".. Johnson admitted to telephoning Green after he had been bailed, an action which Duvall, a former Metropolitan Police Authority chairman, described as "absolutely astonishing and inappropriate," while Stephenson said it would be "entirely inappropriate" to prejudge an inquiry. Johnson had stated that he "had a 'hunch'" that Green would not be charged. The formal complaint gave investigators ten days to decide whether to submit Johnson to formal inquiry by the Standards Board for England, where a guilty verdict could have seen him suspended or removed as Mayor of London, or banned from public office for up to five years.

On January 7, 2009, several sources reported that the Greater London Authority and the Metropolitan Police Authority had decided to pursue a formal investigation of Johnson in-house. The GLA can impose a maximum penalty of three months suspension from office if it finds Johnson guilty.

The GLA announced that Johnson had been found not guilty on all counts on February 24, 2009. However, despite clearing Johnson of any charges, investigator Jonathan Goolden said Johnson had been "extraordinary and unwise" in his actions and should be more careful in the future.

Johnson is a supporter of many causes, particularly the teaching of Classics in inner city schools, and is a patron of The Iris Project. He has promised to donate £25,000 of his income from his Daily Telegraph column to such activities .

Johnson has also supported Book Aid International amongst other charities.

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Boris: The Rise of Boris Johnson

Boris: The Rise of Boris Johnson (2006) is a biography of Boris Johnson by Andrew Gimson, which discusses why Boris Johnson joined politics and became an MP. An updated edition was later published in 2008 after Johnson was elected Mayor of London.

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The British Broadcasting Corporation, almost always referred to by its abbreviation "the BBC", is the world's largest broadcaster.

Incorporated in the United Kingdom by Royal Charter, it employs 28,500 people in that country alone and has an annual budget of more than £4 billion. The BBC is a quasi-autonomous statutory corporation as a public service broadcaster and is run by the BBC Trust. The BBC's mission is "to enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain." It is, per its charter, supposed to "be free from both political and commercial influence and answer only to its viewers and listeners". In addition to being the largest broadcasting corporation in the world, BBC Newsgathering is the largest news system through its regional offices, foreign correspondents and agreements with other news services. The BBC's motto is "Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation".

The BBC reaches more than 200 countries and is available to more than 274 million households, significantly more than CNN's (its nearest competitor) estimated 200 million. Its radio services broadcast on a wide variety of wavelengths, making them available to many regions of the world. It broadcasts news - by radio or over the Internet - in some 33 languages.

The BBC was the first national broadcasting organisation and was founded on 18 October 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd; It was subsequently granted a Royal Charter and was made a publicly funded corporation in 1927. The corporation produces programmes and information services, broadcasting globally on television, radio, and the Internet. The stated mission of the BBC - to inform, educate and entertain - is laid down by Parliament in the BBC Charter.

The BBC's domestic programming is primarily funded by levying television licence fees (under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949), although money is also raised through commercial activities such as sale of merchandise and programming. The BBC World Service, however, is funded through a grant-in-aid by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As part of the BBC Charter, the Corporation cannot show commercial advertising on any services in the United Kingdom (television, radio, or internet). Outside the United Kingdom the BBC broadcasts commercially funded channels such as BBC America, BBC Canada, and BBC World News. In order to justify the licence fee, the BBC is expected to produce a number of high-rating shows in addition to programmes that commercial broadcasters would not normally broadcast.

Older domestic UK audiences often refer to the BBC as "the Beeb", a nickname originally dubbed by Peter Sellers in The Goon Show in the 1950s, when he referred to the "Beeb Beeb Ceeb". It was then borrowed, shortened and popularised by Kenny Everett. Another nickname, now less commonly used, is "Auntie", said to originate from the old-fashioned "Auntie knows best" attitude, (but possibly a sly reference to the 'aunties' and 'uncles' who were presenters of children's programmes in early days) in the days when John Reith, the BBC's founder, was in charge. The two nicknames have also been used together as "Auntie Beeb", and Auntie has been used in outtakes programmes such as Auntie's Bloomers.

The original British Broadcasting Company was founded in 1922 by a group of telecommunications companies&mdash animation ;Marconi, Radio Communication Company, Metropolitan-Vickers, General Electric, Western Electric, and British Thomson-Houston—to broadcast experimental radio services. The first transmission was on 14 November of that year, from station 2LO, located at Marconi House, London.

The European Broadcasting Union was formed on 12 February 1950, in Torquay with the BBC among the 23 founding broadcasting organisations.

Competition to the BBC was introduced in 1955 with the commercially and independently operated television network ITV, however, the BBC monopoly on radio services would persist into the 1970s. As a result of the Pilkington Committee report of 1962, in which the BBC was lauded and ITV was very heavily criticised for not providing enough quality programming, the BBC was awarded a second TV channel, BBC2, in 1964, renaming the existing channel BBC1. BBC2 used the higher resolution 625 line standard which had been standardised across Europe. BBC2 was broadcast in colour from 1 July 1967, and was joined by BBC 1 and ITV on 15 November 1969. The 405 line VHF transmissions of BBC 1 (and ITV) were continued for compatibility with older television receivers until 1985.

Starting in 1964 a series of pirate radio stations (starting with Radio Caroline) came on the air, and forced the British government finally to regulate radio services to permit nationally-based advertising-financed services. In response the BBC reorganised and renamed their radio channels. The Light Programme was split into Radio 1 offering continuous "Popular" music and Radio 2 more "Easy Listening". The "Third" programme became Radio 3 offering classical music and cultural programming. The Home Service became Radio 4 offering news, and non-musical content such as quiz shows, readings, dramas and plays. As well as the four national channels, a series of local BBC radio stations was established.

In 1974, the BBC's teletext service, Ceefax, was introduced, created initially to provide subtitling, but developed into a news and information service. In 1978 BBC staff went on strike just before the Christmas of that year, thus blocking out the transmission of both channels and amalgamating all four radio stations into one.

Since the deregulation of the UK television and radio market in the 1980s, the BBC has faced increased competition from the commercial sector (and from the advertiser-funded public service broadcaster Channel 4), especially on satellite television, cable television, and digital television services.

The BBC Research Department has played a major part in the development of broadcasting and recording techniques. In the early days it carried out essential research into acoustics and programme level and noise measurement.

The 2004 Hutton Inquiry and the subsequent Report raised questions about the BBC's journalistic standards and its impartiality. This led to resignations of senior management members at the time including the then Director General, Greg Dyke. In January 2007, the BBC released minutes of the Board meeting which led to Greg Dyke's resignation. Many commentators have considered the discussions documented in the minutes to have made Dyke's ability to remain in position untenable and tantamount to a dismissal.

Unlike the other departments of the BBC, BBC World Service is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, more commonly known as the Foreign Office or the FCO, is the British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom abroad.

On 18 October 2007, BBC Director General Mark Thompson announced a controversial plan to make major cuts and reduce the size of the BBC as an organisation. The plans include a reduction in posts of 2,500; including 1,800 redundancies, consolidating news operations, reducing programming output by 10% and selling off the flagship Television Centre building in London. These plans have been fiercely opposed by unions, who have threatened a series of strikes, however the BBC have stated that the cuts are essential to move the organisation forward and concentrate on increasing the quality of programming.

The BBC is a quasi-autonomous Public Corporation operating as a public service broadcaster incorporated under a Royal Charter that is reviewed every 10 years. Until 2007, the Corporation was run by a board of governors appointed by The Queen or King on the advice of the government for a term of four years, but on 1 January 2007 the Board of Governors was replaced with the BBC Trust. The BBC is required by its charter to be free from both political and commercial influence and to answer only to its viewers and listeners.

The BBC is a nominally autonomous corporation, independent from direct government intervention, with its activities being overseen by the BBC Trust, formerly the Board of Governors. General management of the organisation is in the hands of a Director-General, who is appointed by the Trust.

The BBC Trust came into effect on 1 January 2007, replacing the Board of Governors.

The original trustees, three former Governors and eight new members, were announced by Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, in October 2006. Michael Grade, then Chairman of the Governors, was to become Chairman of the Trust at the time of the announcement, but due to his move to ITV, Chitra Bharucha became the Acting Chair. Sir Michael Lyons took over as Chairman from 1 May 2007.

The BBC has the largest budget of any UK broadcaster with an operating expenditure of £4.3 billion in 2007 compared to £3.8 billion for British Sky Broadcasting, £1.9 billion for ITV and £214 million in 2007 for GCap Media (the largest commercial radio broadcaster).

The principal means of funding the BBC is through the television licence, costing £139.50 per year per household (as of May 2008). Such a licence is required to operate a broadcast television receiver within the UK. The cost of a television licence is set by the government and enforced by the criminal law. A discount is available for households with only black-and-white television sets. The revenue is collected privately and is paid into the central government Consolidated Fund, a process defined in the Communications Act 2003. This TV Licensing collection is currently carried out by Capita, an outside agency. Funds are then allocated by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Treasury and approved by Parliament via legislation. Additional revenues are paid by the Department for Work and Pensions to compensate for subsidised licences for eligible over-75 year olds.

Income from commercial enterprises and from overseas sales of its catalogue of programmes has substantially increased over recent years, with BBC Worldwide contributing some £145 million to the BBC's core public service business.

The licence fee has, however, attracted criticism. It has been argued that in an age of multi stream, multi-channel availability, an obligation to pay a licence fee is no longer appropriate. The BBC's use of private sector company Capita Group to send letters to premises not paying the licence fee has been criticised, especially as there have been cases where such letters have been sent to premises which are up to date with their payments, or do not require a TV licence. The BBC uses an advertising campaign to inform customers of the requirement to pay the licence fee. These letters and adverts have been criticised by Conservative MPs Boris Johnson and Ann Widdecombe, for having a threatening nature and language used to scare evaders into paying. Audio clips and television broadcasts are used to inform listeners of the BBC's comprehensive database. There are a number of pressure groups campaigning on the issue of the licence fee.

The BBC gave two forms of expenditure statement for the financial year 2005-2006.

Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London, England, UK is the official headquarters of the BBC. It is home to three of the ten BBC national radio networks. They are BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, and BBC 7. On the front of the building are statues of Prospero and Ariel (from Shakespeare's The Tempest) sculpted by Eric Gill.

Renovation of Broadcasting House began in 2002 and is scheduled for completion in 2010. As part of a major reorganisation of BBC property, Broadcasting House is to become home to BBC News (both television and radio), national radio, and the BBC World Service. The major part of this plan involves the demolition of the two post-war extensions to the building and construction of a new building beside the existing structure. During the rebuilding process many of the BBC Radio networks have been relocated to other buildings in the vicinity of Portland Place.

In 2010, the entire BBC News operation is expected to relocate from the News Centre at BBC Television Centre to the refurbished Broadcasting House in what is being described as "one of the world's largest live broadcast centres".

By far the largest concentration of BBC staff in the UK exists in White City. Well-known buildings in this area include the BBC Television Centre, White City, Media Centre, Broadcast Centre and Centre House.

As well as the various BBC buildings in London, there are major BBC production centres located in Cardiff, Belfast, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Southampton and Newcastle upon Tyne. Some of these local centres are also known as "Broadcasting House". There are also many smaller local and regional studios scattered throughout the UK.

In 2011, the BBC is planning to move several departments including BBC Sport and BBC Children's north to newly built premises in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester. This will mark a major decentralisation of the corporation's operations from London.

BBC One and BBC Two are the BBC's flagship television channels. The BBC is also promoting the new channels BBC Three and BBC Four, which are only available via digital television equipment (now in widespread use in the UK, with analogue transmission being phased out by December 2012). The BBC also runs the BBC News channel, BBC Parliament, and two children's channels, CBBC and CBeebies, on digital.

BBC One is a regionalised TV service which provides opt-outs throughout the day for local news and other local programming. These variations are more pronounced in the BBC 'Nations', i.e. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, where the presentation is mostly carried out locally on BBC One and Two. BBC Two variations within England are currently rare, though most regions still have the ability to 'opt out' of the main feed, albeit on analogue only. BBC Two was also the first channel to be transmitted on 625 lines in 1964, then carry a small-scale regular colour service from 1967. BBC One would follow in December 1969.

A new Scottish Gaelic television channel, BBC Alba, was launched in September 2008. It is also the first multi-genre channel to come entirely from Scotland with almost all of its programmes made in Scotland. The service is currently only available via satellite and cable television.

In the Republic of Ireland, the BBC channels are available in a number of ways. All multichannel platforms carry them, although many viewers also receive BBC services via 'overspill' from transmitters in Northern Ireland or Wales, or via 'deflectors' - transmitters in the Republic which rebroadcast broadcasts from the UK, received off-air, or from Digital Satellite.

From 9 June 2006, the BBC began a 6-12 month trial of High-definition television broadcasts under the name BBC HD. The corporation has been producing programmes in the format for many years, and states that it hopes to produce 100% of new programmes in HDTV by 2010.

Since 1975, the BBC has also provided its TV programmes to the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS), allowing members of HM Forces serving all over the world to watch and listen to their favourite programmes from home on two dedicated TV channels.

In 2008, the BBC began experimenting with live streaming of certain channels in the UK, and in November 2008, all standard BBC television channels were made available to watch online.

In recent years some further national stations have been introduced on digital radio platforms including Five Live Sports Extra (a companion to Five Live for additional events coverage), 1Xtra (for black, urban and gospel music), 6 Music (less mainstream genres of music), BBC 7 (comedy, drama & children's programming) and BBC Asian Network (British South Asian talk, music and news in English and in many South Asian languages), a station which had evolved from BBC Local Radio origins in the 1970s and still is broadcast on Medium Wave frequencies in some parts of England. In addition the BBC World Service is now also broadcast nationally in the UK on DAB.

There is also a network of local stations with a mixture of talk, news and music in England and the Channel Islands as well as national stations (Nations' radio) of BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru (in Welsh), BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio nan Gaidheal (in Scots Gaelic), BBC Radio Ulster, and BBC Radio Foyle.

For a worldwide audience, the BBC produces the BBC World Service funded by the Foreign Office, which is broadcast worldwide on shortwave radio, and on DAB Digital Radio in the UK. The World Service is a major source of news and information programming and can be received in 150 capital cities worldwide, with a weekly audience estimate of 163 million listeners worldwide. The Service currently broadcasts in 33 languages and dialects (including English), though not all languages are broadcast in all areas.

In 2005, the BBC announced that it would substantially reduce its radio broadcasting in Thai language (closed in 2006) and Eastern European languages and divert resources instead to a new Arabic language satellite TV broadcasting station (including radio and online content) in the Middle East to be launched in 2007.

Since 1943, the BBC has also provided radio programming to the British Forces Broadcasting Service, which broadcasts in countries where British troops are stationed.

All of the national, local, and regional BBC radio stations, as well as the BBC World Service, are available over the Internet in the RealAudio streaming format. In April 2005, the BBC began trials offering a limited number of radio programmes as podcasts.

Historically, the BBC was the only (legal) radio broadcaster based in the UK mainland until 1967, when University Radio York (URY), then under the name Radio York, was launched as the first (and now oldest) legal independent radio station in the country. However, the BBC did not enjoy a complete monopoly before this as several Continental stations (such as Radio Luxembourg) broadcast programmes in English to Britain since the 1930s and the Isle of Man based Manx Radio began in 1964.

BBC Radio 1 is carried in the United States and Canada on XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.

BBC News is the largest broadcast news gathering operation in the world, providing services to BBC domestic radio as well as television networks such as the BBC News, BBC Parliament and BBC World News, as well as BBC Red Button, Ceefax and BBC News Online. New BBC News services that are also proving popular are mobile services to mobile phones and PDAs. Desktop news alerts, e-mail alerts, and digital TV alerts are also available.

Ratings figures suggest that during major crises such as the 7 July 2005 London bombings or a royal funeral, the UK audience overwhelmingly turns to the BBC's coverage as opposed to its commercial rivals. On 7 July 2005, the day that there were a series of coordinated bomb blasts on London's public transport system, the BBC Online website recorded an all time bandwidth peak of 11 Gb/s at 12:00 on 7 July. BBC News received some 1 billion total hits on the day of the event (including all images, text and HTML), serving some 5.5 terabytes of data. At peak times during the day there were 40,000 page requests per second for the BBC News website. The previous day's announcement of the 2012 Olympics being awarded to London caused a peak of around 5 Gbit/s. The previous all time high at BBC Online was caused by the announcement of the Michael Jackson verdict, which used 7.2 Gbit/s.

BBC News forms a major department of the BBC, and as such is constantly facing allegations of holding a left-wing, right-wing or liberal bias. The Centre for Policy Studies say that, "Since at least the mid-1980s, the BBC has often been criticised for a perceived bias against those on the centre-right of politics." Similar allegations have been made by past and present employees such as Antony Jay, former political editor Andrew Marr, North American editor Justin Webb, former editor of the Today Programme, Rod Liddle and former correspondent Robin Aitken. BBC executives would later submit to claims of systematic bias and "that the BBC is guilty of promoting Left-wing views". By contrast left-wing figures such as the journalist John Pilger have frequently accused the BBC of a right-wing bias, a view supported by the left-wing website Media Lens. The RESPECT MP George Galloway has referred to it as the "Bush and Blair Corporation".

Criticism of the BBC's middle east coverage from both sides, including allegations of anti-Israeli bias, led the BBC to commission an investigation and report from a senior broadcasting journalistMalcolm Balen, referred to as the Balen Report which was completed in 2004. The BBC's refusal to release the report under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 on the basis that the report fell outside of the Act's scope as it was held for the purposes of journalism has led to a long running legal case which continues.

This led to speculation that the report was damning, as well as to accusations of hypocrisy as the BBC frequently made use itself of Freedom of Information Act requests when researching news stories..

After the Balen report and consequent reforms, the BBC appointed a committee chosen by the Governors and referred to by the BBC as an "independent panel" to write a report for publication which was completed in 2006. The committee said that "apart from individual lapses, there was little to suggest deliberate or systematic bias" in the BBC's reporting of the middle east. However their coverage had been "inconsistent," "not always providing a complete picture" and "misleading". It suggested that in fact BBC coverage implicitly favoured the Israeli side.

Former BBC middle east correspondent Tim Llewellyn wrote in 2004 that the BBC's coverage allowed an Israeli view of the conflict to dominate, as demonstrated by research conducted by the Glasgow Media Group.

The BBC has received criticism in recent times over its coverage of the events leading up to the war in Iraq. The controversy over what it described as the "sexing up" of the case for war in Iraq by the government, led to the BBC being heavily criticised by the Hutton Inquiry, although this finding was much disputed by the British press.

In August 2007 Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price highlighted what he perceived as a lack of a Welsh focus on BBC news broadcasts. Price threatened to withhold future television licence fees in response to a lack of thorough news coverage of Wales, echoing a BBC Audience Council for Wales July report citing public frustration over how the Welsh Assembly is characterised in national media. Plaid AM Bethan Jenkins agreed with Price and called for responsibility for broadcasting to be devolved to the Welsh Assembly, voicing similar calls from Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond. Criticism of the BBC's news coverage for Wales and Scotland since devolution prompted debate of possibly providing evening news broadcasts with specific focus for both countries.

In 2008, the BBC was criticised by some for referring to the terrorists who carried out the November 2008 Mumbai attacks as mere "gunmen", however many other broadcasters such as ITV and Channel 4 also used the term rather than "terrorist" as at the time of the event the motives of the attackers were not entirely clear.

The BBC Online for animation website includes a comprehensive news website and archive. It was launched as BBC Online, before being renamed BBCi, then bbc.co.uk, before it was rebranded back as BBC Online. The website uses GeoIP technology and carries advertisements when viewed outside of the UK. The BBC claims the site to be "Europe's most popular content-based site" and states that 13.2 million people in the UK visit the site's more than two million pages each day. According to Alexa's TrafficRank system, in July 2008 BBC Online was the 27th most popular English Language website in the world, and the 46th most popular overall.

A new version of the BBC website was launched in December 2007, with the new site enabling the user to customise the BBC's internet services to their own needs. This, on 28 February 2008, was made permanent.

The website allows the BBC to produce sections which complement the various programmes on television and radio, and it is common for viewers and listeners to be told website addresses for the bbc.co.uk sections relating to that programme. The site also allows users to listen to most Radio output live and for seven days after broadcast using its RealPlayer-based "Radio Player"; some TV content is also distributed in RealVideo format. A new system known as iPlayer was launched on 27 July 2007, which uses peer-to-peer and DRM technology to deliver both radio and TV content of the last seven days for offline use for up to 30 days. Also, through participation in the Creative Archive Licence group, bbc.co.uk allowed legal downloads of selected archive material via the internet. As of February 2008 the BBC has also offered television programmes for download on Apple iTunes under the studio title "BBC Worldwide".

BBC jam was a free online service, delivered through broadband and narrowband connections, providing high-quality interactive resources designed to stimulate learning at home and at school. Initial content was made available in January 2006 however BBC jam was suspended on 20 March 2007 due to allegations made to the European Commission that it was damaging the interests of the commercial sector of the industry.

In recent years some major on-line companies and politicians have complained that the bbc.co.uk website receives too much funding from the television licence, meaning that other websites are unable to compete with the vast amount of advertising-free on-line content available on bbc.co.uk. Some have proposed that the amount of licence fee money spent on bbc.co.uk should be reduced—either being replaced with funding from advertisements or subscriptions, or a reduction in the amount of content available on the site. In response to this the BBC carried out an investigation, and has now set in motion a plan to change the way it provides its online services. bbc.co.uk will now attempt to fill in gaps in the market, and will guide users to other websites for currently existing market provision. (For example, instead of providing local events information and timetables, users will be guided to outside websites already providing that information.) Part of this plan included the BBC closing some of its websites, and rediverting money to redevelop other parts.

BBC Red Button is the brand name for the BBC's interactive digital television services, which are available through Freeview (digital terrestrial), as well as Sky Digital (satellite), and Virgin Media (cable). Unlike Ceefax, BBC Red Button is able to display full-colour graphics, photographs, and video, as well as programmes. Recent examples include the interactive sports coverage for football and rugby football matches and the 2008 Olympic Games, BBC Soundbites which starred young actress Jennifer Lynn and an interactive national IQ test, Test the Nation. All of the BBC's digital television stations, (and radio stations on Freeview), allow access to the BBC Red Button service.

As well as the 24/7 service, BBC Red Button provides viewers with over 100 interactive TV programmes every year, including news and weather.

BBC Worldwide Limited is the wholly-owned commercial subsidiary of the BBC responsible for the commercial exploitation of BBC programmes and other properties, including a number of television stations throughout the world. The cable and satellite stations BBC Prime (in Europe, Africa the Middle East, and Asia), BBC America, BBC Canada (alongside BBC Kids), broadcast popular BBC programmes to people outside the UK, as does UK.TV (co-run with Foxtel and Fremantle Media) in Australasia. A similar service, BBC Japan, ceased broadcasts in April 2006 after its Japanese distributor folded. BBC Worldwide also runs a 24-hour news channel, BBC World News and co-runs, with Virgin Media, the UKTV network of stations in the UK, producers of amongst others UKTV Gold. In addition, BBC television news appears nightly on many Public Broadcasting Service stations in the United States, as do reruns of BBC programmes such as EastEnders, and in New Zealand on TV One.

Many BBC programmes (especially documentaries) are sold via BBC Worldwide to foreign television stations, and comedy, documentaries and historical drama productions are popular on the international DVD market.

BBC Worldwide also maintains the publishing arm of the BBC and it is the third-largest publisher of consumer magazines in the United Kingdom. BBC Magazines, formerly known as BBC Publications, publishes the Radio Times (and published the now-defunct The Listener) as well as a number of magazines that support BBC programming such as BBC Top Gear, BBC Good Food, BBC Sky at Night, BBC History, BBC Wildlife and BBC Music.

BBC Worldwide also produces several branded channels available on satellite in Asia and India, including BBC Lifestyle, BBC Knowledge and BBC Entertainment. In December 2007, a polish version of BBC Entertainment launched.

The BBC has traditionally played a major role in producing book and music tie-ins with its broadcast material. BBC Records produced soundtrack albums, talking books and material from radio broadcasts of music.

Between 2004 and 2006, BBC Worldwide owned the independent magazine publisher Origin Publishing.

BBC Worldwide also licences and directly sells DVD and audio recordings of popular programmes to the public, most notably Doctor Who (including books and merchandise), and archive classical music recordings, initially as BBC Radio Classics and then BBC Legends.

The BBC runs a number of orchestras and choirs, including the BBC Concert Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Television Orchestra (1936-1939), the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Big Band, the BBC Singers and the BBC Symphony Chorus.

The BBC and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office jointly run BBC Monitoring, which monitors radio, television, the press and the internet worldwide.

In the 1980s, the BBC developed several PCs, most notably the BBC Micro.

Union membership is a private matter between staff and their chosen union: staff are not automatically covered by a union, but since the BBC is a large employer (in the media sector), membership numbers are considerable.

Staff at the BBC are normally represented by BECTU, along with journalistic staff by the NUJ and electrical staff by Amicus. Union membership is optional, and paid for by staff members and not by the BBC.

The BBC was the only television broadcaster in the United Kingdom until 1955 and the only legal radio broadcaster until 1968 (when URY obtained their first licence). Its cultural impact was therefore significant since the country had no choice for its information and entertainment from these two powerful media.

Even after the advent of commercial television and radio, the BBC has remained one of the main elements in British popular culture through its obligation to produce TV and radio programmes for mass audiences. However, the arrival of BBC2 allowed the BBC also to make programmes for minority interests in drama, documentaries, current affairs, entertainment and sport. Examples are cited such as I, Claudius, Civilisation, Tonight, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Doctor Who and Pot Black, but other examples can be given in each of these fields as shown by the BBC's entries in the British Film Institute's 2000 list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes. Planet Earth is to this day the biggest selling Blu-Ray High Definition title around the world.

The BBC's putative objective of providing a service to the public, rather than just entertainment, has changed the public's perception in a wide range of subjects from health to natural history. The export of BBC programmes, the BBC World Service and BBC World have meant that BBC productions have also been experienced worldwide.

The term BBC English (Received Pronunciation) refers to the former use of Standard English with this accent. However, the organisation now makes more use of regional accents in order to reflect the diversity of the UK, though clarity and fluency are still expected of presenters. From its 'starchy' beginnings, the BBC has also become more inclusive, and now attempts to accommodate the interests of all strata of society and all minorities, because they all pay the licence fee.

Competition from Independent Television, Channel 4, Sky and other broadcast television stations, has slightly lessened the BBC's reach, but nevertheless it remains a major influence on British popular culture. Many popular everyday sayings are derived from BBC-produced television shows.

A BBC Radio 4 documentary in 2005 claimed that it had evidence that a radio newsreader inserted the word "exactly" into a midnight timecheck one summer night in 1953, a code word to the shah of Iran that Britain supported his plans for a coup. The shah had selected the word, the documentary said, and the BBC broadcast the word at the request of the government. Officially, the BBC has never acknowledged the code word plot. The BBC spokesman declined to comment on a possible connection.

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Conservative Party (UK)

A graph showing the percentage of the popular vote received by major parties in general elections, 1832-2005. The Conservatives have remained a dominant force in British politics since their founding as the Tories.

The Conservative and Unionist Party, more commonly known as the Conservative Party, is a conservative political party in the United Kingdom. Founded in its present form during the early 19th century, it has historically been the principal party of the right, though in the modern day the party and its voters are more associated with the centre-right.

The Conservative Party is descended from the historic Tory Party which was founded in 1678. Due to this lineage the party is still often referred to as the Tory Party. As well as the more correct description of Conservatives, its members are also called Tories. The Conservative Party was in government for two-thirds of the twentieth century, but it has been in opposition in Parliament since losing the 1997 election to the Labour Party.

Currently the Conservatives are the largest opposition party in the United Kingdom and form Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Conservative Party is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament, the largest in terms of public membership, and the largest in terms of sitting councillors in local government. The current party leader is David Cameron, who acts as the Leader of the Opposition and heads the Shadow Cabinet.

For the months between July and September 2008, the Conservative Party received just over £4 million in donations, compared to just over £7.5 million for the Labour Party, as declared by The Electoral Commission on 26 November 2008. The Conservatives are also £12.1 million in debt, compared to Labour's £15.7 million and the Liberal Democrats' £1.13 million.

The Party's official name is The Conservative and Unionist Party, although this is rarely used. The name has its origins in the 1912 merger with the Liberal Unionist Party and is an echo of the party's 1886-1921 policy of maintaining the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in opposition to Irish nationalist and republican aspirations. Scotland's allied Unionist Party was independent of the Conservatives until 1965. Similarly the Ulster Unionist Party supported the Conservatives for many decades in the House of Commons and traditionally took the Conservative whip. In contrast to Scotland this arrangement broke down in the aftermath of the Ulster Unionists' opposition to the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement. The Conservative Party was formally organised in Northern Ireland separately from the Ulster Unionist Party, but in February 2009, it agreed to an electoral alliance with the UUP under the banner "Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force". The advocacy group Clear Blue Water Conservatives are campaigning against this.

The internal organisation of the Conservative Party is a contrast between the grassroots groups who dominate in the election of party leaders and selection of local candidates, and the members of the Conservative Campaign Headquarters who lead in financing, the organising of elections, and drafting of policy. The leader of the Parliamentary party provides the core of daily political activity and forms policy in consultation with his cabinet and administration. This decentralised structure is unusual.

As with the Labour Party, membership has long been declining and despite an initial boost shortly after Cameron's election as leader, membership resumed its fall in 2006 and is now actually lower than when David Cameron was elected in December 2005. However, the Conservative Party still has more members (about 290,000) than the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats combined (around 200,000 and 70,000 respectively). However, the party does not publicly provide verifiable membership figures, making this difficult to confirm.

The membership fee for the Conservative party is £25, or £5 if the member is under the age of 23.

According to accounts filed with the Electoral Commission it had income in the year ending 31 December 2004 of about £20 million and expenditure of about £26 million.

The electoral symbol of the Conservative party is a stylised oak tree, replacing the freedom torch. The present motto, adopted by the Party on 6 October 2007, is "It's Time For Change". Before David Cameron, the official party colours were red, white and blue, though blue is most generally associated with the party, in contrast to the red of the Labour Party. The position has become more ambiguous since the logo change in 2006, and the party website is now blue and green. (In the Cumbrian constituencies of Penrith and the Border and Westmorland and Lonsdale the party adopts yellow as its colour after the coat of arms of the Earls of Lonsdale).

Internationally the Conservative Party is member of the International Democratic Union, and in Europe it is a member of the European Democrat Union.

The Conservative Party traces its origins to a faction, rooted in the 18th century Whig Party, that coalesced around William Pitt the Younger (Prime Minister of Great Britain 1783-1801 and 1804-1806). Originally known as "Independent Whigs", "Friends of Mr. Pitt", or "Pittites", after Pitt's death the term "Tory" came into use. This was an allusion to the attenuated Tories, a political grouping that had existed from 1678, but which had no organisational continuity with the Pittite party. From about 1812 on the name "Tory" was commonly used for the newer party.

Not all members of the party were content with the "Tory" name. George Canning first used the term 'Conservative' in the 1820s and it was suggested as a title for the party by John Wilson Croker in the 1830s. It was later officially adopted under the aegis of Sir Robert Peel around 1834. Peel is acknowledged as the founder of the Conservative party which he created with the announcement of the Tamworth Manifesto.

The widening of the franchise in the nineteenth century forced the Conservative Party to popularise its approach under Lord Derby and Benjamin Disraeli, who carried through their own expansion of the franchise with the Reform Act of 1867. In 1886 the party formed an alliance with Lord Hartington (later the 8th Duke of Devonshire) and Joseph Chamberlain's new Liberal Unionist Party , and under the statesmen Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour the party held power for all but three of the following twenty years. However, the party suffered a landslide election defeat in 1906 when it split over the issue of free trade. In 1912 the party formerly merged with the Liberal Unionists and was then offically known as the Unionist party until 1925.

The Conservatives served with the Liberals in the all-party coalition government during World War I, and the coalition continued under Liberal PM David Lloyd George (with half of the Liberals) until 1922. Eventually, Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin led the breakup of the Coalition and the Conservatives came again to dominate the political scene in the inter-war period, albeit from 1931 in another coalition, the National Government. It was this wartime coalition government under the leadership of Winston Churchill that saw the United Kingdom through World War II. However, the party lost the 1945 general election in a landslide to the resurgent Labour Party.

Upon their election victory in the 1951 general election, the Conservatives accepted the reality of Labour's 'welfare state' and its industry nationalisation programme, though Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home continued to promote relatively liberal trade regulations and less State involvement throughout the 1950s and early 1960s.

Edward Heath's 1970-1974 government was notable for its failure to battle the increasingly militant trade unions, although it was successful in taking Britain into the European Economic Community. Macmillan's earlier bid to join the EC in early 1963 had been blocked by French President Charles de Gaulle. As an example of the Conservatives' divided stance on the issue, Churchill at one point argued strongly for a 'United States of Europe', although he was against British membership of any federal European state and specifically the EEC. Since accession, British membership in the EU has been a source of significant and heated debate over the decades within the Conservative party.

Margaret Thatcher won her party's leadership election in 1975. Following victory in the 1979 general election, the Conservatives briefly pursued a monetarist economic programme. More generally, the party adopted a free-market approach to government services and focused on the privatisation of industries and utilities nationalised under Labour in the 1940s and 1960s. Thatcher after her initial election led the Conservatives to two landslide election victories in 1983 and 1987. She was greatly admired by many for her leadership in the Falklands War of 1982 and policies such as the right of council house tenants to buy their house. However, she was also deeply unpopular in certain sections of society, in part due to the temporary high unemployment which reached unprecedented heights, peaking at over 3 million following her economic reforms and also for what was seen as a heavy-handed response to issues such as the miners' strike. It was thought that Thatcher's introduction of the Community Charge (known by its opponents as the poll tax) most contributed to her political downfall. Her increasing unpopularity and unwillingness to compromise on policies perceived as vote losers saw internal party tensions lead to a leadership challenge by the Conservative MP Michael Heseltine, after which she was forced to stand down from the premiership in 1990.

John Major won the ensuing party leadership contest in 1990, and also won a general election victory in his own right in 1992. Major's government experienced only a brief honeymoon as the pound sterling was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism on 16 September 1992, a day thereafter referred to as "Black Wednesday"; at that time, David Cameron, later to become leader of the party, was Special Advisor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont. Soon after, approximately one million householders faced repossession of their homes during a recession that saw a sharp rise in unemployment. The party subsequently lost much of its reputation for good financial stewardship despite the ensuing economic recovery, and was also increasingly accused in the media of sleaze. An effective opposition campaign by the Labour Party culminated in a landslide defeat for the Conservatives in 1997. It was Labour's largest ever parliamentary victory. One significant feature of the result of the 1997 election was that it left the Conservative Party with MPs in just England, with all remaining seats in Scotland and Wales being lost.

William Hague assumed the leadership after the party's electoral collapse in 1997. Though a strong debater in the House of Commons, a Gallup poll for the Daily Telegraph found that two-thirds of voters regarded him as laughable, mocked as he was for headlines such as his claim that he drank 14 pints of beer in a single day in his youth. He was also criticised for attending the Notting Hill Carnival and for wearing a baseball cap in public, in what were seen as poor attempts to appeal to younger voters. Shortly before the 2001 election, Hague was much maligned by some Labour and Conservative supporters for a speech in which he predicted that a re-elected Labour government would turn Britain into a "foreign land". The BBC also reported that Conservative peer Lord Taylor criticised Hague for not removing the whip from Conservative MP John Townend, after the latter made a speech in which he termed the British "a mongrel race", although Hague did reject Townend's views. The 2001 election resulted in a net gain of just one seat for the Conservative Party and William Hague resigned soon after, having privately set himself a target of 209 seats – Labour's performance in 1983 – a target which he missed by 43.

Iain Duncan Smith (2001-2003) (often known as IDS and by satirists as "the quiet man") was a strong Eurosceptic. But Euroscepticism did not define Duncan Smith's leadership—indeed it was during his tenure that Europe ceased to be an issue of division in the party as it united behind calls for a referendum on the proposed European Union Constitution. However, before ever facing the public at a general election, Duncan Smith lost a vote of no confidence to MPs who felt he was unelectable. Michael Howard then stood for the leadership unopposed on 6 November 2003.

Under Howard in the 2005 general election, the Conservative Party increased their total vote share by around 0.6% (up to 32.3%) and – more significantly – their number of parliamentary seats by 33 (up to 198 seats). This gain accompanied a large fall in the Labour vote, and the election reduced Labour's majority from 167 to 66. The Conservative party actually won the largest share of the vote in England, though not the largest number of seats. The campaign - based around the slogan,"Are you thinking what we're thinking?" - was designed by Australian pollster Lynton Crosby. The day after the election, on 6 May, Howard announced that he did not feel it was right to continue as leader after defeat in the general election, also saying that he would be too old to lead the party into another campaign and would therefore step down, while first allowing time for the party to amend its leadership election rules.

David Cameron won the subsequent leadership campaign. Cameron beat his closest rival, David Davis, by a margin of more than two to one, taking 134,446 votes to 64,398. He then announced his intention to reform and realign the Conservatives, saying they needed to change the way they looked, felt, thought and behaved, advocating a more centre-right stance as opposed to their traditional staunchly right-wing platform. Although Cameron's views are significantly to the left of the grassroots party, he has expressed his admiration for former PM Margaret Thatcher, describing himself as a 'big fan of Thatcher's', however, he questions whether that makes him a Thatcherite. For most of 2006 and the first half of 2007, polls showed leads over Labour for the Conservatives. Polls became more volatile in the summer of 2007 with the accession of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister although a strong Conservative lead has once again become apparent since October 2007. On Thursday 8 May 2008, a week after the local elections a YouGov poll commissioned by The Sun newspaper was published, giving the Conservative Party a 26 point lead over Labour, its largest lead since 1968. The Conservatives gained control of the London mayoralty for the first time in May 2008 after Boris Johnson defeated Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone.

The Conservative Party, as the largest in the UK Parliament after the Labour Party, provides Her Majesty's Official Opposition to the Labour Government of Gordon Brown. Labour currently holds a majority of 64 in a House of Commons of 646 Members of Parliament. The Conservatives now number 193 MPs.

Many commentators believe that Conservative election defeats from 1997 were partly as a result of continued internal tension over issues such as Europe. However, the Conservatives have in recent years largely come to terms with these issues, or at least ceased to argue quite as publicly over them.

Since the election of David Cameron as leader, party policy has increasingly focused on 'social' and 'quality of life' issues such as the environment, the simplifying and improvement of government services (most prominently the National Health Service and the Home Office), and schools. The party has taken a stance on fixing what Cameron has called the "broken" British society. This may be seen to contrast with Margaret Thatcher who is said to have believed that society does not exist (though is based on a misquotation).

Conservatives hold a varying record of opposition and support on parliamentary devolution to the nations and English regions of the UK. They opposed devolution to Wales and Scotland in the 1997 referendums, whilst supporting it for Northern Ireland. They also opposed the government's unsuccessful attempt at devolution of power to North East England in 2004. However, with a Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly now in existence, the Conservatives have pledged not to reverse these reforms. Recently the Conservatives have begun to take a stance on the difficult West Lothian Question, supporting - as a proposal but not yet as a policy - the idea that only English MPs should vote on policies that affect only England. (See the article on the 'West Lothian Question' for fuller explanation of the issues involved).

Though Margaret Thatcher's reforms of the 1980s are often credited with breaking Britain's cycle of long-term decline, the party's reputation for economic stewardship was dealt a blow by Black Wednesday in 1992, in which billions of pounds were spent in an effort to keep the pound within the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) system at an overvalued rate. Combined with the recession of the early 1990s 'Black Wednesday' allowed Tony Blair and then-Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown to claim from the Conservatives the mantle of economic competence. Many on both the left and right have since argued that New Labour's embrace of market forces and public sector modernisation amounted to little more than stealing the Conservative Party's economic clothes.

Following Labour's victory in the 1997 general election, the Conservative Party opposed Labour's decision to grant the Bank of England independent control of interest rates. Economists had long advocated independent central banks as a means of depoliticising monetary policy and overcoming the problem of time inconsistency (a situation in game theory which shows how a policymaker who cares about both low unemployment and low inflation will achieve neither). Moreover, in the 1990s a number of countries (e.g. New Zealand) pursued such reforms. However, the Conservatives initially opposed independence for the Bank of England on the grounds that it would be a prelude to the abolition of the pound sterling and acceptance of the European single currency, and also expressed concern over the removal of monetary policy from democratic control. However, Bank independence was popular amongst the financial community as it helped to keep inflation low. The Conservatives accepted Labour's policy in early 2000.

The Conservative Party under David Cameron has redirected its stance on taxation, still committed to the general principle of reducing direct taxation whilst arguing that the country needs a "dynamic and competitive economy", with the proceeds of any growth shared between both "tax reduction and extra public investment".

Perhaps the most notable Conservative economic policy of recent years has been opposition to the European single currency. Anticipating the growing Euroscepticism within his party, John Major negotiated a British opt-out from the single currency in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, although several members of Major's cabinet (Kenneth Clarke, Michael Heseltine and Stephen Dorrell) were personally supportive of EMU participation. Following Major's resignation after the 1997 defeat, each of the four successive Conservative leaders (William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard and David Cameron) have positioned the party firmly against the abolition of the pound. This policy is broadly popular with the British electorate, although voters typically rank Europe as an issue of low importance compared to education, healthcare, immigration and crime. In a study by the European Parliament in 2004, only 9% of voters questioned agreed that the EU was an important issue for the country.

In recent years, 'modernisers' in the party have claimed that the association between social conservatism and the Conservatives (manifest in policies such as tax incentives for married couples, the removal of the link between pensions and earnings, and criticism of public financial support for those who do not work) have played a role in the electoral decline of the party in the 1990s and early 2000s. Since 1997 a debate has continued within the party between 'modernisers' such as Michael Portillo, who believe that the Conservatives should modify their public stances on social issues, and 'traditionalists' such as Boris Johnson, William Hague, and David Davis, who believe that the party should remain faithful to its traditional conservative platform. This may have resulted in William Hague's and Michael Howard's pre-election swings to the right in 2001 and 2005, as well as the election of the stop-Kenneth Clarke candidate Iain Duncan Smith in 2001. Iain Duncan Smith, however, remains influential. It has been argued by analysts that his Centre for Social Justice has forced Cameron to the right on many issues, particularly crime and social welfare.

For much of the twentieth century the Conservative party took a broadly Atlanticist stance in relations with the United States, favouring close ties with the United States and similarly aligned nations such as Canada, Australia and Japan. The Conservatives have generally favoured a diverse range of international alliances, ranging from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to the Commonwealth of Nations.

Close US-British relations have been an element of Conservative foreign policy since World War II. Winston Churchill during his 1951–1955 post-war premiership built up a strong relationship with the Eisenhower Administration in the United States. Harold Macmillan demonstrated a similarly close relationship with the Democratic administration of J.F. Kennedy. Though the US-British relationship in foreign affairs has often been termed a 'Special Relationship', a term coined by Sir Winston Churchill, this has often been observed most clearly where leaders in each country are of a similar political stripe. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher built a close relationship with American President Ronald Reagan in his opposition to the former Soviet Union, but John Major was less successful in his personal contacts with former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Out of power and perceived as largely irrelevant by American politicians, Conservative leaders Hague, Duncan-Smith, and Howard each struggled to forge personal relationships with presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush. However, Republican 2008 presidential candidate John McCain spoke at the 2006 Conservative Party Conference.

The Conservatives have proposed Pan-African Free Trade Area, which it says could help entrepreneurial dynamism of African people. The Conservatives have also pledged to increase aid spending to 0.7% of national income by 2013.

David Cameron had sought to distance himself from former US President Bush and his neoconservative foreign policy, calling for a "rebalancing" of US-UK ties and met with Barack Obama during his 2008 European tour.

No subject has more divided the Conservative Party in recent history than the UK's relations with the European Union (EU). Though the principal architect of Britain's entry into the then-Common Market (later European Community and European Union) was Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, and both Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan favoured some form of European union, the bulk of contemporary Conservative opinion is opposed to closer economic and particularly political union with the EU. This is a noticeable shift in British politics, as in the 1960s and 1970s the Conservatives were more pro EU than the Labour Party. Divisions on Europe came to the fore under the premiership of Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) and were cited by several ministers resigning, including the Deputy Prime Minister Geoffrey Howe, whose resignation triggered the challenge that ended Thatcher's leadership, although other factors such as the poll tax also played a role. Under Thatcher's successor, John Major (1990-1997), the slow process of integration within the EU forced party tensions to the surface. A core of Eurosceptic MPs under Major used the small Conservative majority in Parliament to oppose Government policy on the Maastricht Treaty. By doing so they undermined Major's ability to govern.

In recent years the Conservative Party has become more clearly Eurosceptic, as the Labour Government has found itself unwilling to make a positive case for further integration, and Eurosceptic or pro-withdrawal parties such as the United Kingdom Independence Party have made showings in UK elections. But under current EU practices, the degree to which a Conservative Government could implement policy change regarding the EU would depend directly on the willingness of other EU member states to agree to such policies.

The Conservatives are a member of the International Democrat Union and its European Democrat Union. In the summer of 2006 the Conservatives became founding members of the Movement for European Reform, following Cameron's pledge to end the fourteen-year-old partnership between the largely Eurosceptic Conservatives and the more Euro-integrationist, European People's Party (EPP). Within the European Parliament, however, the Conservatives remain members of an informal bloc called the European Democrats (ED), which is committed to sit in a coalition arrangement with the EPP as the EPP-ED group until 2009. Paradoxically, the EPP group is a strongly pro-EU integrationist grouping in the EP, while the ED is a eurosceptic grouping.

Beyond relations with the United States, the Commonwealth and the EU, the Conservative Party has generally supported a pro free-trade foreign policy within the mainstream of international affairs. The degree to which Conservative Governments have supported interventionist or non-interventionist Presidents in the US has often varied with the personal relations between a US President and the British Prime Minister.

The Conservative Party have suggested an expansion of the British Army, believing that it is too small for current operations. They also have pledged support to the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier, the Trident nuclear deterrent, and the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES)., whilst some equipment would be bought 'off-the-shelf' from secondhand markets. They also plan to re-establish the Defence Export Services Organisation as part of the MOD, hoping to help a UK defence export market.

The Conservatives are also looking at a number of ways to improve military welfare, and the covenant that exists between the public and the military. Their proposals were outlined in a document by the Military Covenant Commission, set up by the party.

They would also undertake a Strategic Defence review if they were voted into office, the aim being to procure equipment in line with demands and commitments.

One Nation Conservatism was the party's dominant ideology in the 20th century until the rise of Thatcherism in the 1970s, and included in its ranks Conservative Prime Ministers such as Stanley Baldwin, Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath. The name itself comes from a famous phrase of Benjamin Disraeli. The basis of One-Nation Conservatism is a belief in social cohesion, and its adherents support social institutions that maintain harmony between different interest groups, classes, and—more recently—different races or religions. These institutions have typically included the welfare state, the BBC, and local government. Some are also supporters of the European Union, perhaps stemming from an extension of the cohesion principle to the international level, though others are strongly against the EU (such as Sir Peter Tapsell). Prominent One Nation Conservatives in the contemporary party include Kenneth Clarke, Malcolm Rifkind and Damian Green; they are often associated with the Tory Reform Group and the Bow Group. One Nation Conservatives often invoke Edmund Burke and his emphasis on civil society ("little platoons") as the foundations of society, as well as his opposition to radical politics of all hues.

Many are also Eurosceptic, since they perceive most EU regulations as an unwelcome interference in the free market and/or a threat to British sovereignty. Rare Thatcherite Europhiles include Leon Brittan.

Many take inspiration from Thatcher's Bruges speech in 1988, in which she declared that "we have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level". Thatcherites also tend to be Atlanticist, dating back to the close friendship between Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan. Thatcher herself claimed philosophical inspiration from the works of Burke and Friedrich Hayek for their defence of liberal economics. Groups associated with this tradition include the No Turning Back Group and Conservative Way Forward.

This right-wing grouping is currently associated with the Cornerstone Group (or Faith, Flag and Family), and is the third main tradition within the Conservative Party. The name stems from its support for three English social institutions: the Church of England, the unitary British state and the family. To this end, they emphasise the country's Anglican heritage, oppose any transfer of power away from the United Kingdom—either downwards to the nations and regions or upwards to the European Union—and seek to place greater emphasis on traditional family structures to repair what they see as a broken society in Britain. They are strong advocates of marriage and believe the Conservative Party should back the institution with tax breaks and have opposed Labour’s alleged assault on both traditional family structures and 'fatherhood’. Most oppose high levels of immigration and support the lowering of the current 24 week abortion limit. They have been credited with securing a last minute u-turn by the Government who were planning to further liberalise the UK’s abortion laws, when in 2008 to the surprise of many MPs the Leader of the House announced plans to shelve these proposals. Some members in the past have expressed support for capital punishment. Prominent MPs from this wing of the party include Andrew Rosindell, Nadine Dorries, Ann Widdecombe and Edward Leigh—the last two prominent Roman Catholics, notable in a faction marked out by its support for the established Church of England. The conservative English philosopher Roger Scruton is a representative of the intellectual wing of the Cornerstone group: his writings rarely touch on economics and instead focus on conservative perspectives concerning political, social, cultural and moral issues.

Sometimes two groupings have united to oppose the third. Both Thatcherite and Traditionalist Conservatives rebelled over Europe (and in particular Maastricht) during John Major's premiership; and Traditionalist and One Nation MPs united to inflict Margaret Thatcher's only defeat in parliament, over Sunday trading.

Not all Conservative MPs can be easily placed within one of the above groupings. For example, John Major was the ostensibly "Thatcherite" candidate during the 1990 leadership election, but he consistently promoted One-Nation Conservatives to the higher reaches of his cabinet during his time as Prime Minister. These included Kenneth Clarke as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Michael Heseltine as Deputy Prime Minister.

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London Underground

A London Underground 1995 Stock train pulls into Mornington Crescent station on the Northern Line.

The London Underground is a metro system serving a large part of Greater London and neighbouring areas of Essex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire in the UK. It is the world's oldest underground railway. It was also the first underground railway to operate electric trains. It is usually referred to as the Underground or the Tube—the latter deriving from the shape of the system's deep-bore tunnels—although about 55% of the network is above ground.

The earlier lines of the present London Underground network, which were built by various private companies, became part of an integrated transport system (which excluded the main line railways) in 1933 with the creation of the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB), more commonly known by its shortened name: "London Transport". The underground network became a single entity when London Underground Limited (LUL) was formed by the UK government in 1985. Since 2003 LUL has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), the statutory corporation responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London, which is run by a board and a commissioner appointed by the Mayor of London.

The Underground has 270 stations and approximately 400 km (250 miles) of track, making it the longest metro system in the world by route length, and one of the most served in terms of stations. In 2007, over one billion passenger journeys were recorded.

The tube map, with its schematic non-geographical layout and colour-coded lines, is considered a design classic, and many other transport maps worldwide have been influenced by it.

Railway construction in the United Kingdom began in the early 19th century. By 1854 six separate railway terminals had been built just outside the centre of London: London Bridge, Euston, Paddington, King's Cross, Bishopsgate and Waterloo. At this point, only Fenchurch Street Station was located in the actual City of London. Traffic congestion in the city and the surrounding areas had increased significantly in this period, partly due to the need for rail travellers to complete their journeys into the city centre by road. The idea of building an underground railway to link the City of London with the mainline terminals had first been proposed in the 1830s, but it was not until the 1850s that the idea was taken seriously as a solution to the traffic congestion problems.

In 1854 an Act of Parliament was passed approving the construction of an underground railway between Paddington Station and Farringdon Street via King's Cross which was to be called the Metropolitan Railway. The Great Western Railway (GWR) gave financial backing to the project when it was agreed that a junction would be built linking the underground railway with their mainline terminus at Paddington. GWR also agreed to design special trains for the new subterranean railway.

Construction was delayed for several years due to a shortage of funds. The fact that this project got under way at all was largely due to the lobbying of Charles Pearson, who was Solicitor to the City of London Corporation at the time. Pearson had supported the idea of an underground railway in London for several years. He advocated plans for the demolition of the unhygienic slums which would be replaced by new accommodation for their inhabitants in the suburbs, with the new railway providing transportation to their places of work in the city centre. Although he was never directly involved in the running of the Metropolitan Railway, he is widely credited as being one of the first true visionaries behind the concept of underground railways. And in 1859 it was Pearson who persuaded the City of London Corporation to help fund the scheme. Work finally began in February 1860, under the guidance of chief engineer John Fowler. Pearson died before the work was completed.

The Metropolitan Railway opened on 10 January 1863. Within a few months of opening it was carrying over 26,000 passengers a day. The Hammersmith and City Railway was opened on 13 June 1864 between Hammersmith and Paddington. Services were initially operated by GWR between Hammersmith and Farringdon Street. By April 1865 the Metropolitan had taken over the service. On 23 December 1865 the Metropolitan's eastern extension to Moorgate Street opened. Later in the decade other branches were opened to Swiss Cottage, South Kensington and Addison Road, Kensington (now known as Kensington Olympia). The railway had initially been dual gauge, allowing for the use of GWR's signature broad gauge rolling stock and the more widely used standard gauge stock. Disagreements with GWR had forced the Metropolitan to switch to standard gauge in 1863 after GWR withdrew all its stock from the railway. These differences were later patched up, however broad gauge was totally withdrawn from the railway in March 1869.

On 24 December 1868, the Metropolitan District Railway began operating services between South Kensington and Westminster using Metropolitan Railway trains and carriages. The company, which soon became known as "the District", was first incorporated in 1864 to complete an Inner Circle railway around London in conjunction with the Metropolitan. This was part of a plan to build both an Inner Circle line and Outer Circle line around London.

A fierce rivalry soon developed between the District and the Metropolitan. This severely delayed the completion of the Inner Circle project as the two companies competed to build far more financially lucrative railways in the suburbs of London. The London and North Western Railway (LNWR) began running their Outer Circle service from Broad Street via Willesden Junction, Addison Road and Earl's Court to Mansion House in 1872. The Inner Circle was not completed until 1884, with the Metropolitan and the District jointly running services. In the meantime, the District had finished its route between West Brompton and Blackfriars in 1870, with an interchange with the Metropolitan at South Kensington. In 1877, it began running its own services from Hammersmith to Richmond, on a line which had originally opened by the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) in 1869. The District then opened a new line from Turnham Green to Ealing in 1879 and extended its West Brompton branch to Fulham in 1880. Over the same decade the Metropolitan was extended to Harrow-on-the-Hill station in the north-west.

The early tunnels were dug mainly using cut-and-cover construction methods. This caused widespread disruption and required the demolition of several properties on the surface. The first trains were steam-hauled, which required effective ventilation to the surface. Ventilation shafts at various points on the route allowed the engines to expel steam and bring fresh air into the tunnels. One such vent is at Leinster Gardens, W2. In order to preserve the visual characteristics in what is still a well-to-do street, a five-foot-thick (1.5 m) concrete façade was constructed to resemble a genuine house frontage.

On 7 December 1869 the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) started operating a service between Wapping and New Cross Gate on the East London Railway (ELR) using the Thames Tunnel designed by Marc Brunel, who designed the revolutionary tunnelling shield method which made its construction not only possible, but safer, and completed by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This had opened in 1843 as a pedestrian tunnel, but in 1865 it was purchased by the ELR (a consortium of six railway companies: the Great Eastern Railway (GER); London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR); London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR); South Eastern Railway (SER); Metropolitan Railway; and the Metropolitan District Railway) and converted into a railway tunnel. In 1884 the District and the Metropolitan began to operate services on the line.

By the end of the 1880s, underground railways reached Chesham on the Metropolitan, Hounslow, Wimbledon and Whitechapel on the District and New Cross on the East London Railway. By the end of the 19th century, the Metropolitan had extended its lines far outside of London to Aylesbury, Verney Junction and Brill, creating new suburbs along the route—later publicised by the company as Metro-land. Right up until the 1930s the company maintained ambitions to be considered as a main line rather than an urban railway.

Following advances in the use of tunnelling shields, electric traction and deep-level tunnel designs, later railways were built even further underground. This caused much less disruption at ground level and it was therefore cheaper and preferable to the cut-and-cover construction method.

The City & South London Railway (C&SLR, now part of the Northern Line) opened in 1890, between Stockwell and the now closed original terminus at King William Street. It was the first "deep-level" electrically operated railway in the world. By 1900 it had been extended at both ends, to Clapham Common in the south and Moorgate Street (via a diversion) in the north. The second such railway, the Waterloo and City Railway, opened in 1898. It was built and run by the London and South Western Railway.

On 30 July 1900 the Central London Railway (now known as the Central Line) was opened, operating services from Bank to Shepherd's Bush. It was nicknamed the "Twopenny Tube" for its flat fare and cylindrical tunnels; the "tube" nickname was eventually transferred to the Underground system as a whole. An interchange with the C&SLR was provided at Bank. Construction had also begun in August 1898 on the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway. However work on this railway came to a halt 18 months after it began when funds ran out.

In the early 20th century the presence of six independent operators running different Underground lines caused passengers substantial inconvenience; in many places passengers had to walk some distance above ground to change between lines. The costs associated with running such a system were also heavy, and as a result many companies looked to financiers who could give them the money they needed to expand into the lucrative suburbs as well as electrify the earlier steam operated lines. The most prominent of these was Charles Yerkes, an American tycoon who secured the right to build the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR) on 1 October 1900. In March 1901, he effectively took control of the District and this enabled him to form the Metropolitan District Electric Traction Company (MDET) on 15 July. Through this he acquired the Great Northern & Strand Railway and the Brompton & Piccadilly Circus Railway in September 1901, the construction of which had already been authorised by Parliament, together with the moribund Baker Street & Waterloo Railway in March 1902. On 9 April the MDET evolved into the Underground Electric Railways of London Company Ltd (UERL). The UERL also owned three tramway companies and went on to buy the London General Omnibus Company, creating an organisation colloquially known as "the Combine" which went on to dominate underground railway construction in London until the 1930s.

With the financial backing of Yerkes, the District opened its South Harrow branch in 1903 and completed its link to the Metropolitan's Uxbridge branch at Rayners Lane in 1904—although services to Uxbridge on the District did not begin until 1910 due to yet another disagreement with the Metropolitan. By the end of 1905, all District Railway and Inner Circle services were run by electric trains.

The Baker Street & Waterloo Railway opened in 1906, soon branding itself the Bakerloo, and by 1907 it had been extended to Edgware Road in the north and Elephant & Castle in the south. The newly named Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway, combining the two projects acquired by MDET in September 1901, also opened in 1906. With tunnels at an impressive depth of 200 feet below the surface, it ran from Finsbury Park to Hammersmith; a single station branch to Strand (later renamed Aldwych) was added in 1907. In the same year the CCE&HR opened from Charing Cross to Camden Town, with two northward branches, one to Golders Green and one to Highgate (now Archway).

Independent ventures did continue in the early part of the 20th century. The independent Great Northern & City Railway opened in 1904 between Finsbury Park and Moorgate. It was the only tube line of sufficient diameter to be capable of handling main line stock, and it was originally intended to be part of a main line railway. However money soon ran out and the route remained separate from the main line network until the 1970s. The C&SLR was also extended northwards to Euston by 1907.

In early 1908, in an effort to increase passenger numbers, the underground railway operators agreed to promote their services jointly as "the Underground", publishing new adverts and creating a free publicity map of the network for the purpose. The map featured a key labelling the Bakerloo Railway, the Central London Railway, the City & South London Railway, the District Railway, the Great Northern & City Railway, the Hampstead Railway (the shortened name of the CCE&HR), the Metropolitan Railway and the Piccadilly Railway. Some other railways appeared on the map but with less prominence than the aforementioned lines. These included part of the ELR (although the map wasn't big enough to fit in the whole line) and the Waterloo and City Railway. As the latter was owned by a main line railway company it wasn't included in this early phase of integration. As part of the process, "The Underground" name appeared on stations for the first time and electric ticket-issuing machines were also introduced. This was followed in 1913 by the first appearance of the famous circle and horizontal bar symbol, known as "the roundel", designed by Edward Johnston.

On 1 January 1913 the UERL absorbed two other independent tube lines, the C&SLR and the Central London Railway. As the Combine expanded, only the Metropolitan stayed away from this process of integration, retaining its ambition to be considered as a main line railway. Proposals were put forward for a merger between the two companies in 1913 but the plan was rejected by the Metropolitan. In the same year the company asserted its independence by buying out the cash strapped Great Northern and City Railway. It also sought a character of its own. The Metropolitan Surplus Lands Committee had been formed in 1887 to develop accommodation alongside the railway and in 1919 Metropolitan Railway Country Estates Ltd. was founded to capitalise on the post-World War One demand for housing. This ensured that the Metropolitan would retain an independent image until the creation of London Transport in 1933.

The Metropolitan also sought to electrify its lines. The District and the Metropolitan had agreed to use the low voltage dc system for the Inner Circle, comprising two electric rails to power the trains, back in 1901. At the start of 1905 electric trains began to work the Uxbridge branch and from 1 November 1906 electric locomotives took trains as far as Wembley Park where steam trains took over. This changeover point was moved to Harrow on 19 July 1908. The Hammersmith & City branch had also been upgraded to electric working on 5 November 1906. The electrification of the ELR followed on 31 March 1913, the same year as the opening of its extension to Whitechapel and Shoreditch. Following the Grouping Act of 1921, which merged all the cash strapped main line railways into four companies (thus obliterating the original consortium that had built the ELR), the Metropolitan agreed to run passenger services on the line.

The Bakerloo line extension to Queen's Park was completed in 1915, and the service extended to Watford Junction via the London and North Western Railway tracks in 1917. The extension of the Central line to Ealing Broadway was delayed by the war until 1920.

The major development of the 1920s was the integration of the CCE&HR and the C&SLR and extensions to form what was to become the Northern line. This necessitated enlargement of the older parts of the C&SLR, which had been built on a modest scale. The integration required temporary closures during 1922—24. The Golders Green branch was extended to Edgware in 1924, and the southern end was extended to Morden in 1926.

The Watford branch of the Metropolitan opened in 1925 and in the same year electrification was extended to Rickmansworth. The last major work completed by the Metropolitan was the branch to Stanmore which opened in 1932.

By 1933 the Combine had completed the Cockfosters branch of the Piccadilly Line, with through services running (via realigned tracks between Hammersmith and Acton Town) to Hounslow West and Uxbridge.

In 1933 the Combine, the Metropolitan and all the municipal and independent bus and tram undertakings were merged into the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB), a self-supporting and unsubsidised public corporation which came into being on 1 July 1933. The LPTB soon became known as "London Transport" (LT).

Shortly after it was created, LT began the process of integrating the underground railways of London into one network. All the separate railways were given new names in order to become lines within it. A free map of these lines, designed by Harry Beck, was issued in 1933. It featured the District Line, the Bakerloo Line, the Piccadilly Line, the Edgware, Highgate and Morden Line, the Metropolitan Line, the Great Northern & City Line, the East London Line and the Central London Line. Commonly regarded as a design classic, an updated version of this map is still in use today. The Waterloo & City line was not included in this map as it was still owned by a main line railway (the Southern Railway since 1923) and not LT.

LT announced a scheme for the expansion and modernisation of the network entitled the New Works Programme, which had followed the announcement of improvement proposals for the Metropolitan Line. This consisted of plans to extend some lines, to take over the operation of others from main-line railway companies, and to electrify the entire network. During the 1930s and 1940s, several sections of main-line railways were converted into surface lines of the Underground system. The oldest part of today's Underground network is the Central line between Leyton and Loughton, which opened as a railway seven years before the Underground itself.

LT also sought to abandon routes which made a significant financial loss. Soon after the LPTB started operating, services to Verney Junction and Brill on the Metropolitan Railway were stopped. The renamed "Metropolitan Line" terminus was moved to Aylesbury.

The outbreak of World War II delayed all the expansion schemes. From mid-1940, the Blitz led to the use of many Underground stations as shelters during air raids and overnight. The authorities initially tried to discourage and prevent this, but later supplied bunks, latrines, and catering facilities. Later in the war, eight London deep-level shelters were constructed under stations, ostensibly to be used as shelters (each deep-level shelter could hold 8,000 people) though plans were in place to convert them for a new express line parallel to the Northern line after the war. Some stations (now mostly disused) were converted into government offices: for example, Down Street was used for the headquarters of the Railway Executive Committee and was also used for meetings of the War Cabinet before the Cabinet War Rooms were completed; Brompton Road was used as a control room for anti-aircraft guns and the remains of the surface building are still used by London's University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) and University London Air Squadron (ULAS).

After the war one of the last acts of the LPTB was to give the go-ahead for the completion of the postponed Central Line extensions. The western extension to West Ruislip was completed in 1948, and the eastern extension to Epping in 1949; the single-line branch from Epping to Ongar was taken over and electrified in 1957.

On 1 January 1948 London Transport was nationalised by the incumbent Labour government, together with the four remaining main line railway companies, and incorporated into the operations of the British Transport Commission (BTC). The LPTB was replaced by the London Transport Executive (LTE). This brought the Underground under the remit of central government for the first time in its history.

The implementation of nationalised railways was a move of necessity as well as ideology. The main line railways had struggled to cope with a war economy in the First World War and by the end of World War Two the four remaining companies were on the verge of bankruptcy. Nationalisation was the easiest way to save the railways in the short term and provide money to fix war time damage. The BTC necessarily prioritised the reconstruction of its main line railways over the maintenance of the Underground network. The unfinished parts of the New Works Programme were gradually shelved or postponed.

However the BTC did authorise the completion of the electrification of the network, seeking to replace steam locomotives on the parts of the system where they still operated. This phase of the programme was completed when the Metropolitan Line was electrified to Chesham in 1960. Steam locomotives were fully withdrawn from London Underground passenger services on 9 September 1961, when British Railways took over the operations of the Metropolitan line between Amersham and Aylesbury. The last steam shunting and freight locomotive was withdrawn from service in 1971.

In 1963 the LTE was replaced by the London Transport Board, directly accountable to the Ministry of Transport.

On 1 January 1970, the Greater London Council (GLC) took over responsibility for London Transport. This period is perhaps the most controversial in London's transport history, characterised by staff shortages and a severe lack of funding from central government. In 1980 the Labour-led GLC began the 'Fares Fair' project, which increased local taxation in order to lower ticket prices. The campaign was initially successful and usage of the Tube significantly increased. But serious objections to the policy came from the London Borough of Bromley, an area of London which has no Underground stations. The Council resented the subsidy as it would be of little benefit to its residents. The council took the GLC to the Law Lords who ruled that the policy was illegal based on their interpretation of the Transport (London) Act 1969. They ruled that the Act stipulated that London Transport must plan, as far as was possible, to break even. In line with this judgement, 'Fares Fair' was therefore reversed, leading to a 100% increase in fares in 1982 and a subsequent decline in passenger numbers. The scandal prompted Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Government to remove the Underground from the GLC's control in 1984, a development that turned out to be a prelude to the abolition of the GLC in 1986.

However the period saw the first real post-war investment in the network with the opening of the carefully planned Victoria Line, which was built on a diagonal northeast-southwest alignment beneath Central London, incorporating centralised signalling control and automatically driven trains. It opened in stages between 1968 and 1971. The Piccadilly line was extended to Heathrow Airport in 1977, and the Jubilee line was opened in 1979, taking over part of the Bakerloo line, with new tunnels between Baker Street and Charing Cross. There was also one important legacy from the 'Fares Fair' scheme, the introduction of ticket zones, which remain in use today.

In 1984 Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Government removed London Transport from the GLC's control, replacing it with London Regional Transport (LRT) on 19 June 1984 - a statutory corporation for which the Secretary of State for Transport was directly responsible. The Government planned to modernise the system while slashing its subsidy from taxpayers and ratepayers. As part of this strategy London Underground Limited was set up on 1 April 1985 as a wholly owned subsidiary of LRT to run the network.

However cost-cutting was not without its critics. At 19:30 on 18 November 1987 a fire swept through King's Cross St Pancras Undeground station, the busiest station on the network, killing 31 people. It later turned out that the fire had started in an escalator shaft serving the Piccadilly Line, which was burnt out along with the top level (entrances and ticket hall) of the deep-level tube station. The escalator on which the fire started had been built just before World War II. The steps and sides of the escalator were partly made of wood, meaning that they burned quickly and easily. Although smoking was banned on the subsurface sections of the London Underground in February 1985 (a consequence of the Oxford Circus fire), the fire was most probably caused by a commuter discarding a burning match, which fell down the side of the escalator onto the running track (Fennell 1988, p. 111). The running track had not been cleaned in some time and was covered in grease and fibrous detritus. The Member of Parliament for the area, Frank Dobson, informed the House of Commons that the number of transportation employees at the station, which handled 200,000 passengers every day at the time, had been cut from 16 to ten, and the cleaning staff from 14 to two. The tragic event led to the abolition of wooden escalators at all Underground stations and pledges of greater investment.

In 1994, with the privatisation of British Rail, LRT took control of the Waterloo and City line, incorporating it into the Underground network for the first time. This year also saw the end of services on the little used Epping-Ongar branch of the Central Line and the Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly Line after it was agreed that necessary maintenance and upgrade work would not be cost effective.

In 1999 the Jubilee line extension to Stratford in London's East End was completed. This plan included the opening of a completely refurbished interchange station at Westminster. The Jubilee line's old terminal platforms at Charing Cross were closed but maintained operable for emergencies.

Transport for London (TfL) replaced LRT in 2000, a development that coincided with the creation of a directly-elected Mayor of London and the Greater London Assembly.

In January 2003 the Underground began operating as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), whereby the infrastructure and rolling stock were maintained by two private companies (Metronet and Tube Lines) under 30-year contracts, whilst London Underground Limited remained publicly owned and operated by TfL.

There was much controversy over the implementation of the PPP. Supporters of the change claimed that the private sector would eliminate the inefficiencies of public sector enterprises and take on the risks associated with running the network, while opponents said that the need to make profits would reduce the investment and public service aspects of the Underground. There has since been criticism of the performance of the private companies; for example the January 2007 edition of The Londoner, a newsletter published periodically by the Greater London Authority, listed Metronet's mistakes of 2006 under the headline Metronet guilty of 'inexcusable failures'.

Metronet was placed into administration on 18 July 2007.TfL has since taken over Metronet's outstanding commitments.

The UK government has made concerted efforts to find another private firm to fill the vacuum left by the liquidation of Metronet. However so far only TfL has expressed a plausible interest in taking over Metronet's responsibilities. Even though Tube Lines appears to be stable, this has put the long-term future of the PPP scheme in doubt. The case for PPP was also weakened in 2008 when it was revealed that the demise of Metronet had cost the UK government £2 billion. The five private companies that made up the Metronet alliance had to pay £70m each towards paying off the debts acquired by the consortium. But under a deal struck with the government in 2003 the companies were protected from any further liability. The UK taxpayer therefore had to foot the rest of the bill. This undermined the argument that the PPP would place the risks involved in running the network into the hands of the private sector.

Transport for London (TfL) was created in 2000 as the integrated body responsible for London's transport system. It replaced London Regional Transport. It assumed control of London Underground Limited in July 2003.

TfL is part of the Greater London Authority and is constituted as a statutory corporation regulated under local government finance rules. It has three subsidiaries: London Transport Insurance (Guernsey) Ltd., the TfL Pension Fund Trustee Co. Ltd. and Transport Trading Ltd (TTL). TTL has six wholly-owned subsidiaries, one of which is London Underground Limited.

The TfL Board is appointed by the Mayor of London. The Mayor also sets the structure and level of public transport fares in London. However the day-to-day running of the corporation is left to the Commissioner of Transport for London. The current Commissioner is Peter Hendy.

The Mayor is responsible for producing an integrated transport strategy for London and for consulting the GLA, TfL, local councils and others on the strategy. The Mayor is also responsible for setting TfL's budget. The GLA is consulted on the Mayor's transport strategy, and inspects and approves the Mayor's budget. It is able to summon the Mayor and senior staff to account for TfL's performance. London TravelWatch, a body appointed by and reporting to the Assembly, deals with complaints about transport in London.

The London Underground's 11 lines are the Bakerloo line, Central line, Circle line, District line, Hammersmith & City line, Jubilee line, Metropolitan line, Northern line, Piccadilly line, Victoria line, and Waterloo & City line. Until 2007 there was a twelfth line, the East London line, but this has closed for conversion work and will be transferred to the London Overground when it reopens in 2010.

The Underground serves 268 stations by rail; an additional six stations that were on the East London line are served by Underground replacement buses. Fourteen Underground stations are outside Greater London, of which five (Amersham, Chalfont & Latimer, Chesham, Chorleywood, Epping) are beyond the M25 London Orbital motorway. Of the 32 London boroughs, six (Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Kingston, Lewisham and Sutton) are not served by the Underground network, while Hackney only has Old Street and Manor House on its boundaries.

Lines on the Underground can be classified into two types: subsurface and deep-level. The subsurface lines were dug by the cut-and-cover method, with the tracks running about 5 m (16 ft 5 in) below the surface. The deep-level or tube lines, bored using a tunnelling shield, run about 20 m (65 ft 7 in) below the surface (although this varies considerably), with each track in a separate tunnel. These tunnels can have a diameter as small as 3.56 m (11 ft 8 in) and the loading gauge is thus considerably smaller than on the subsurface lines. Lines of both types usually emerge onto the surface outside the central area.

While the tube lines are for the most part self-contained, the subsurface lines are part of an interconnected network: each shares track with at least two other lines. The subsurface arrangement is similar to the New York City Subway, which also runs separate "lines" over shared tracks.

The Underground uses rolling stock built between 1960 and 2005. Stock on subsurface lines is identified by a letter (such as A Stock, used on the Metropolitan line), while tube stock is identified by the year in which it was designed (for example, 1996 Stock, used on the Jubilee line). All lines are worked by a single type of stock except the District line, which uses both C and D Stock. Two types of stock are currently being developed — 2009 Stock for the Victoria line and S stock for the subsurface lines, with the Metropolitan line A Stock being replaced first. Rollout of both is expected to begin about 2009. In addition to the Electric Multiple Units described above, there is engineering stock, such as ballast trains and brake vans, identified by a 1-3 letter prefix then a number.

The Underground is one of the few networks in the world that uses a four-rail system. The additional rail carries the electrical return that on third-rail and overhead networks is provided by the running rails. On the Underground a top-contact third rail is beside the track, energised at +420 V DC, and a top-contact fourth rail is centrally between the running rails, at -210 V DC, which combine to provide a traction voltage of 630 V DC.

In cases where the lines are shared with mainline trains which use a three-rail system, the third rail is set at +630 V, and the forth rail at 0 V DC.

In summer, temperatures on parts of the London Underground can become very uncomfortable due to its deep and poorly ventilated tube tunnels: temperatures as high as 47 °C (117 °F) were reported in the 2006 European heat wave. Posters may be observed on the Underground network advising that passengers carry a bottle of water to help keep cool.

There are many planned improvements to the London Underground. A new station opened on the Piccadilly line at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 on 27 March 2008 and is the first extension of the London Underground since 1999. Each line is being upgraded to improve capacity and reliability, with new computerised signalling, automatic train operation (ATO), track replacement and station refurbishment, and, where needed, new rolling stock. A trial programme for a groundwater cooling system in Victoria station took place in 2006 and 2007; it aimed to determine whether such a system would be feasible and effective if in widespread use. A trial of mobile phone coverage on the Waterloo & City line aims to determine whether coverage can be extended across the rest of the Underground network. Although not part of London Underground, the Crossrail scheme will provide a new route across central London integrated with the tube network.

The long proposed Chelsea-Hackney line, which is planned to begin operation in 2025, may be part of the London Underground, which would mean it would give the network a new Northeast to South cross London line to provide more interchanges with other lines and relieve overcrowding on other lines. However it is still on the drawing board. It was first proposed in 1901 and has been in planning since then. In 2007 the line was passed over to Cross London Rail Ltd, the current developers of Crossrail. Therefore, the line may be either part of the London Underground network or the National Rail network. There are advantages and disadvantages for both.

The Croxley Rail Link proposal envisages diverting the Metropolitan line Watford branch to Watford Junction station along a disused railway track. The project awaits funding from Hertfordshire County Council and the Department for Transport, and remains at the proposal stage.

London Mayor Boris Johnson suggested he may be thinking of extending the Bakerloo line to Lewisham, as South London lacks Underground lines.

The Underground uses TfL's Travelcard zones to calculate fares. Greater London is divided into 6 zones; Zone 1 is the most central, with a boundary just beyond the Circle line, and Zone 6 is the outermost and includes London Heathrow Airport. Stations on the Metropolitan line outside Greater London are in Zones 7-9.

Travelcard zones 7–9 also apply on the Euston-Watford Junction line (part of the London Overground) as far as Watford High Street. Watford Junction is outside these zones and special fares apply.

There are staffed ticket offices, some open for limited periods only, and ticket machines usable at any time. Some machines that sell a limited range of tickets accept coins only, other touch-screen machines accept coins and banknotes, and usually give change. These machines also accept major credit and debit cards: some newer machines accept cards only.

More recently, TfL has introduced the Oyster card, a smartcard with an embedded contactless RFID chip, that travellers can obtain, charge with credit, and use to pay for travel. Like Travelcards they can be used on the Underground, buses, trams and the Docklands Light Railway. The Oyster card is cheaper to operate than cash ticketing or the older-style magnetic-strip-based Travelcards, and the Underground is encouraging passengers to use Oyster cards instead of Travelcards and cash (on buses) by implementing significant price differences. Oyster-based Travelcards can be used on National Rail throughout London. Pay as you go is available on a restricted, but increasing, number of routes.

For tourists or other non-residents, not needing to travel in the morning peak period, the all day travelcard is the best ticketing option available. These are available from any underground station. These cost around £5.50 and allow unlimited travel on the network from 9:30am onwards for the rest of the day. This provides excellent value for money and a huge saving considering one single journey on the network can cost close to £5. Travel cards for multiple days are also available.

In addition to automatic and staffed ticket gates, the Underground is patrolled by both uniformed and plain-clothes ticket inspectors with hand-held Oyster card readers. Passengers travelling without a ticket valid for their entire journey are required to pay a £50 (or £25 if paid within 21 days) penalty fare and can be prosecuted for fare evasion under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 under which they are subject to a fine of up to £1,000, or three months' imprisonment. Oyster card pre-pay users who have failed to touch in at the start of their journey are charged the maximum cash fare (£4, or £5 at some National Rail stations) upon touching out. In addition, an Oyster card user who has failed to touch in at the start of their journey and who is detected mid-journey (i.e. on a train) by an Inspector is now liable to a penalty fare of £50, which is reduced to £25 if paid within 21 days. No £4 maximum charge will be applied to their destination as the inspector will apply an 'exit token' to their card.

While the Conditions of Carriage require period Travelcard holders to touch in and touch out at the start and end of their journey, any Oyster card user who has a valid period Travelcard covering their entire journey is not liable to pay a Penalty fare where they have not touched in. Neither the Conditions of Carriage or Schedule 17 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999, which shows how and when Penalty fares can be issued, would allow the issuing of a Penalty fare to a traveller who had already paid the correct fare for their journey.

According to statistics obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the average commuter on the Metropolitan line wasted three days, 10 hours and 25 minutes in 2006 due to delays (not including missed connections). Between 17 September 2006 and 14 October 2006, figures show that 211 train services were delayed by more than 15 minutes. Passengers are entitled to a refund if their journey is delayed by 15 minutes or more due to circumstances within the control of TfL.

The Underground does not run 24 hours a day (except at New Year and major public events - such as the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London Olympics in 2012) because most lines have only two tracks (one in each direction) and therefore need to close at night for planned maintenance work. First trains start operating around 04:30, running until around 01:30. Unlike systems such as the New York City Subway, few parts of the Underground have express tracks that allow trains to be routed around maintenance sites. Recently, greater use has been made of weekend closures of parts of the system for scheduled engineering work.

Accessibility by people with mobility problems was not considered when most of the system was built, and most older stations are inaccessible to disabled people. More recent stations were designed for accessibility, but retrofitting accessibility features to old stations is at best prohibitively expensive and technically extremely difficult, and often impossible. Even when there are already escalators or lifts, there are often steps between the lift or escalator landings and the platforms.

Most stations on the surface have at least a short flight of stairs to gain access from street level, and the great majority of below-ground stations require use of stairs or some of the system's 410 escalators (each going at a speed of 145 ft (44 m) per minute, approximately 1.65 mph (3 km/h)). There are also some lengthy walks and further flights of steps required to gain access to platforms. The emergency stairs at Covent Garden station have 193 steps (the equivalent climbing a 15-storey building) to reach the exit, so passengers are advised to use the lifts as climbing the steps can be dangerous.

The escalators in Underground stations include some of the longest in Europe, and all are custom-built. The longest escalator is at Angel station, 60 m (197 ft) long, with a vertical rise of 27.5 m (90 ft). They run 20 hours a day, 364 days a year, with 95% of them operational at any one time, and can cope with 13,000 passengers per hour. Convention and signage stipulate that people using escalators on the Underground stand on the right-hand side so as not to obstruct those who walk past them on the left.

TfL produces a map indicating which stations are accessible, and since 2004 line maps indicate with a wheelchair symbol those stations that provide step-free access from street level. Step height from platform to train is up to 300 mm (11.8 in), and there can be a large gap between the train and curved platforms. Only the Jubilee Line Extension is completely accessible.

TfL plans that by 2020 there should be a network of over 100 fully accessible stations, consists of those recently built or rebuilt, and a handful of suburban stations that happen to have level access, along with selected 'key stations', which will be rebuilt. These key stations have been chosen due to high usage, interchange potential, and geographic spread, so that up to 75% of journeys will be achievable step-free.

Overcrowding on the Underground has been of concern for years and is very much the norm for most commuters especially during the morning and evening rush hours. Stations which particularly have a problem include Camden Town station and Covent Garden, which have access restrictions at certain times. Restrictions are introduced at other stations when necessary. Several stations have been rebuilt to deal with overcrowding issues, with Clapham Common and Clapham North on the Northern line being the last remaining stations with a single narrow platform with tracks on both sides. On particularly busy occasions, such as football matches, British Transport Police may be present to help with overcrowding.

On 24 September 2007 the entirety of King's Cross underground station was closed due to "overcrowding". Some stations are closed or are made exit-only stations due to overcrowding in peak periods. At other times trains simply don't stop at the overcrowded station and go onto the next closest station, in places where there is another station within walking distance. Overcrowding can also be limited by temporarily disallowing passengers from passing through ticket gates to the platforms at some stations.

According to a 2003 House of Commons report, commuters faced a "daily trauma" and were forced to travel in "intolerable conditions".

Accidents on the Underground network, which carries around a billion passengers a year, are rare. There is one fatal accident for every 300 million journeys. There are several safety warnings given to passengers, such as the 'mind the gap' announcement and the regular announcements for passengers to keep behind the yellow line. Relatively few accidents are caused by overcrowding on the platforms, and staff monitor platforms and passageways at busy times prevent people entering the system if they become overcrowded.

Most fatalities on the network are suicides. Most platforms at deep tube stations have pits beneath the track, originally constructed to aid drainage of water from the platforms, but they also help prevent death or serious injury when a passenger falls or jumps in front of a train.

TfL's Tube map and "roundel" logo are instantly recognisable by any Londoner, almost any Briton, and many people around the world.

TfL licences the sale of clothing and other accessories featuring its graphic elements and it takes legal action against unauthorised use of its trademarks and of the Tube map. Nevertheless, unauthorised copies of the logo continue to crop up worldwide.

The original maps were often street maps with the lines superimposed, but as well as being visually complex, this produced problems of space, as central stations were far closer together than outlying ones.

The modern stylised Tube map evolved from a design by electrical engineer Harry Beck in 1933. It is characterized by a schematic non-geographical layout (thought to have been based on circuit diagrams) and the use of colour coding for lines.

The map is now considered a design classic; virtually every major urban rail system in the world now has a similar map, and many bus companies have also adopted the concept.

There are many references in culture to the map, including parodies of it using different station-names, particularly in London advertisements for unrelated products & services.

Edward Johnston designed TfL's distinctive sans-serif typeface, in 1916. The typeface is still in use today although substantially modified in 1979 by Eiichi Kono at Banks & Miles to produce "New Johnston". It is noted for the curl at the bottom of the minuscule l, which other sans-serif typefaces have discarded, and for the diamond-shaped tittle on the minuscule i and j, whose shape also appears in the full stop, and is the origin of other punctuation marks in the face. TfL owns the copyright to and exercises control over the New Johnston typeface, but a close approximation of the face exists in the TrueType computer font Paddington, and the Gill Sans typeface also takes inspiration from Johnston.

The origins of the roundel, in earlier years known as the 'bulls-eye' or 'target', are obscure. While the first use of a roundel in a London transport context was the 19th-century symbol of the London General Omnibus Company — a wheel with a bar across the centre bearing the word GENERAL — its usage on the Underground stems from the decision in 1908 to find a more obvious way of highlighting station names on platforms. The red circle with blue name bar was quickly adopted, with the word "UNDERGROUND" across the bar, as an early corporate identity. The logo was modified by Edward Johnston in 1919.

Each station displays the Underground roundel, often containing the station's name in the central bar, at entrances and repeatedly along the platform, so that the name can easily be seen by passengers on arriving trains.

The roundel has been used for buses and the tube for many years, and since TfL took control it has been applied to other transport types (taxi, tram, DLR, etc.) in different colour pairs. The roundel has to some extent become a symbol for London itself.

The 100th anniversary of the roundel was celebrated by TfL commissioning 100 news works that celebrate the design.

The Underground currently sponsors and contributes to the arts via its Platform for Art and Poems on the Underground projects. Poster and billboard space (and in the case of Gloucester Road tube station, an entire disused platform) is given over to artwork and poetry to "create an environment for positive impact and to enhance and enrich the journeys of ... passengers".

Its artistic legacy includes the employment since the 1920s of many well-known graphic designers, illustrators and artists for its own publicity posters. Designers who produced work for the Underground in the 1920s and 1930s include Man Ray, Edward McKnight Kauffer and Fougasse. In recent years the Underground has commissioned work from leading artists including R. B. Kitaj, John Bellany and Howard Hodgkin.

In architecture, Leslie Green established a house style for the new stations built in the first decade of the 20th century for the Bakerloo, Piccadilly and Northern lines which included individual Edwardian tile patterns on platform walls. In the 1920s and 1930s, Charles Holden designed a series of modernist and art-deco stations for which the Underground remains famous. Holden's design for the Underground's headquarters building at 55 Broadway included avant-garde sculptures by Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill and Henry Moore (his first public commission). Misha Black was appointed design consultant for the 1960s Victoria Line, contributing to the line's uniform look, while the 1990s extension of the Jubilee line featured stations designed by leading architects such as Norman Foster, Michael Hopkins and Will Alsop.

Many stations also feature unique interior designs to help passenger identification. Often these have themes of local significance. Tiling at Baker Street incorporates repetitions of Sherlock Holmes's silhouette. Tottenham Court Road features semi-abstract mosaics by Eduardo Paolozzi representing the local music industry at Denmark Street. Northern line platforms at Charing Cross feature murals by David Gentleman of the construction of Charing Cross itself.

The Underground has been featured in many movies and television shows, including Sliding Doors, Tube Tales and Neverwhere. The London Underground Film Office handles over 100 requests per month. The Underground has also featured in music such as The Jam's "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" and in literature such as the graphic novel V for Vendetta. Popular legends about the Underground being haunted persist to this day.

After placing a number of spoof announcements on her web page, London Underground voiceover artiste Emma Clarke had further contracts cancelled in 2007.

The announcement "mind the gap", heard when trains stop at certain platforms, has also become a well known catchphrase, as well as a name of a band.

The Amateur Transplants have made a spoof of the song "Going Underground" by The Jam, and changed the name to London Underground. They sing about all the "bad things underground".

The London Underground map serves as a playing field for the conceptual game of Mornington Crescent.

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Source : Wikipedia