Sadiq Khan’s Deputy Mayor for Transport Heidi Alexander is to step down from her job before Christmas having seen through the government’s latest short-term extension of its emergency funding for Transport for London. She is to be succeeded by the former Labour MEP Seb Dance.
In a letter to the Mayor Alexander revealed that she was confirming a decision she had informed him about at the beginning of October and been “considering for some time”. On Twitter she wrote of “new adventures” next month “after 3.5 years on the TfL rollercoaster”, adding that she was not yet quite sure what she will do next.
Alexander was considered an outstanding hire by Khan following the departure of his original transport deputy Valerie Shawcross. As MP for Lewisham East she had been shadow secretary of state for health under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, but resigned in June 2016 after nine months, describing the shadow cabinet as shoddy, inept and unprofessional.
She resigned her parliamentary seat in May 2018 to take up her City Hall role and has spend most of the last two years involved with repeated negotiations with the government over funding support for TfL after a collapse in fares revenue due to the pandemic left the transport body close to financial collapse. The latest deal is an extension until 4 February of the one confirmed on 1 June.
Khan thanked Alexander for her “exceptional service” and for “tirelessly leading leading TfL through the pandemic – the most difficult period in its history”. He described her as “without doubt one of the most dedicated, resilient and and respected politicians I have ever worked with”.
Alexander will remain a member of the TfL board until the central section of the Crossrail Elizabeth Line is open next year and will continue to chair TfL’s Elizabeth Line committee. Seb Dance will begin as transport deputy on 4 January.
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