New Mayor wins with biggest ever mandate
BORIS JOHNSON is the new Mayor of London.
The mop-top candidate beat his Labour rival Ken Livingstone by 53 per cent to 47, with second preference votes taken into account, to become the first ever Tory to land the job. After first preferences the score was 43-37 in Johnson's favour.
"I will work flat out to repay and to justify your confidence," Johnson told supporters at City Hall around midnight last night.
Turn out for the election was 45 percent, ten points up on last time, which means Johnson has the biggest popular mandate of any local politician in the history of London, bagging over a million votes.
The big vote reflects the wide interest gained by a campaign that pitted against each other two of the most colourful characters in British politics, who combined to eclipse third-placed Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick, whose tally of 10 percent was well down on expectations.
Livingstone's losing performance was actually an improvement on the collpase in Labour support in local elections in the rest of the country, where the governing party suffered almost total humiliation.
But the ex-Mayor refused to blame the national party's low standing for his defeat: "I'm sorry I couldn't get an extra few points that would take us to victory and the fault for that is solely my own," he said.
Nationally, Labour won only 24 percent of the popular vote to fall to third place, one point behind the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives were out of sight at 44 percent.
In the vote for the London Assembly, there was some small crumb of comfort for Labour, which gained a seat. The Tories gained two to claim 11 of the Assembley's 25 seats as the Liberal Democrats and other smaller parties saw their votes squeezed.
The new Assembley stacks up like this: Conservative 11 seats, Labour 8, Liberal Democrat 3, Green 2 and BNP 1.