Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson have fought a ruthless battle to become London mayor
4:00am UK, Friday May 04, 2012
Boris Johnson is hoping to restore some pride in an election-battered Tory party by being named London mayor later today.
The Conservatives suffered major defeats in local elections across the country, losing hundreds of seats to Labour.
The Lib Dems also lost heavily in a bad night for the coaltion.
But polls suggest that Mr Johnson, the Tory candidate for London mayor, should beat rivals, including Ken Livingstone, to take the leadership role for the second time.
An eve-of-poll survey for the Evening Standard suggested that Mr Johnson is set for victory over Mr Livingstone, by a margin of 53% to 47%.
The London mayoralty commands the largest personal mandate in British politics, and the contest to run the capital is central to the Conservatives’ strategy.
Siobhan Benita (Independent), Carlos Cortiglia (British National Party), Jenny Jones (Green), Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrats) and Lawrence Webb (UKIP) are also standing.
Although most local election results were announced overnight, full results for the London mayoral contest are not expected until this evening.
It has been a good night for Labour because people who have been concerned about some of the decisions of this coalition Government are punishing them by voting for Labour candidates all around the country. But we mustn’t be complacent or smug about this.
Labour’s shadow justice minister Sadiq Khan
As well as the London battle, 10 cities from across the country held referendums on whether to have elected mayors.
Nottingham and Manchester were among cities to reject the idea – another major blow for Mr Cameron, who supports the idea.
Nottingham voted “no” by a margin of 57.5% to 42.5%, on a low turnout of just under 24%.
Nottingham City Council’s Labour Leader, Jon Collins, said: “This was a referendum imposed on us by the Coalition Government which the majority of local people clearly did not agree with.
“I am pleased with this outcome because an elected mayor would have been expensive and unnecessary.
“This outcome shows that local people recognise we have a system in Nottingham which is working well for them and the city.”