Ken Livingstone wins Labour nomination for London mayor

Mr Livingstone is aiming for a third term as mayor

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Ken Livingstone has defeated former MP Oona King for Labour's nomination for the 2012 London mayoral election.

Mr Livingstone, who served two terms as London mayor between 2000 and 2008, polled 68.8% of the total votes.

He will run against Conservative incumbent Boris Johnson. Former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik has said he hoped to win his party's nomination.

Mr Johnson's deputy said he was surprised Labour would "exhume" Mr Livingstone.

Announcing the nomination result at a neighbourhood centre on London's South Bank, Labour Party acting leader Harriet Harman told Mr Livingstone: "The whole of Team Labour will be backing you.

"And I have no doubt you will win the backing of communities across London."

'Broken promises'

Mr Livingstone thanked those who voted for him, calling Mr Johnson's administration "disastrous".

He said: "When we defeat Boris we will have played a part in rebuilding the Labour Party after the general election.

"Everywhere you look Boris has broken promises and taken his axe to services Londoners rely on."

Boris Johnson Mr Johnson has said being mayor is the "most brilliant job in British politics"

Mr Livingstone said the current mayor's fingerprints were "all over the scene of the crime" of current cuts.

He added: "We won't let Boris get away with saying he is not to blame. It is a con trick."

Ms King, who became only the second black female MP when she was elected at 29, lost her Bethnal Green and Bow seat in 2005 to Respect Party politician George Galloway.

The mayoral bid marked her return to the political spotlight.

Responding to Mr Livingstone's comments that he planned to "steal" her "best policies", Ms King said she hoped he would look at her ideas.

"I think the policy that I put together around how we actually tackle knife-crime in practical terms was a really important one.

"I hope that Ken will look at my mayor's mortgage policy to help people on low incomes in London to get on to the housing ladder."

When he announced his intention to run again on 10 September, Mr Johnson said: "We have done good things but there is a big list of fantastic things we still want to achieve and two years is not enough time to achieve them."

The mayor would not comment on Mr Livingstone's selection but his deputy Kit Malthouse said: "Choosing to exhume Ken Livingstone is a very odd decision.

Union backing

"Granted he is a game old boy - but we assumed Labour would choose the future, not the past."

Start Quote

I really liked Ken, but I think his time has been and gone. ”

End Quote RG

Referring to Mr Livingstone's repeated attacks on Mr Johnson during his acceptance speech, Mr Malthouse said: "When I hear Ken ranting it makes me yawn - it's like back to the future."

And the deputy mayor for policing surprisingly opened the door to Ms King.

He said: "Boris wants to talk to Oona about some of her ideas. We think she has a lot to offer."

Mr Livingstone was backed by an electoral college made up of 33,000 party members holding half the voting strength, the rest held by linked organisations such as unions.

A ballot of party members gave him 33% of the final votes, compared with 17% for Ms King.

And union support added 35.6% to that total, compared to 14.4% for his rival.

Mr Livingstone's victory sets up a re-run of the 2008 election, which ended his eight-year administration.

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