London mayor: Boris Johnson wins second term by tight margin


Boris Johnson pledged to "continue to fight for a good deal for Londoners"

Boris Johnson has won a second term as London mayor, beating Labour rival Ken Livingstone by 3%, after a far closer contest than expected.

Mr Johnson won on second preference votes after failing to gain more than 50% in the first round.

He bucked the national trend after heavy Tory losses elsewhere.

Lib Dem Brian Paddick saw his vote collapse and he was beaten into fourth place by Green Jenny Jones, with independent Siobhan Benita fifth.

Mr Johnson's victory comes after a dismal night at the polls for Conservatives across England, Scotland and Wales, as Labour seized control of 32 councils.

Labour also saw a significant boost in their vote across London in the Assembly elections - but many of the party's voters appear to have shunned Ken Livingstone when it came to choosing a mayor.

In other developments:

  • Labour gained 823 councillors nationally, as the Tories lost 405 and the Lib Dems 336
  • Labour had a projected 38% national share of the vote, up three points, with the Tories down four on 31% and the Lib Dems unchanged on 16%
  • The Lib Dems were the big losers in Scotland, where Labour and the Scottish National Party made big gains
  • Voters in Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Wakefield, Manchester, Nottingham, Bradford, Leeds and Coventry rejected the mayoral system - but Bristol voted in favour and Doncaster voted to keep theirs
  • Labour made substantial gains in Wales, including taking Cardiff

Mr Johnson gained 44% of first preference votes, to Ken Livingstone's 40.3%. After second preferences came into play, Mr Johnson gained a total of 1,054,811 votes, or 51.5%, to the Labour candidate's 48.5% - making it an even closer contest than in 2008.

"This is my last election"

He outperformed the Conservative Party as a whole across the country, and was asked by the BBC's Evan Davis, after his victory, why that might be.

"I think the mayoral election is genuinely an election between two candidates who are, as you can see, for one reason or another, thought to be distinct from their parties in some senses - you saw that with both Livingstone and to an extent me," he said.

"But my programme is absolutely, avowedly conservative with a big C or a small c."

There has been speculation that Mr Johnson could be a future Conservative Party leader, but he told the BBC he was dedicating himself to London and people could "take it for granted" that he would not stand as an MP at the 2015 general election.

Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May said Mr Johnson's victory was "a great result", and admitted it had been "a difficult set of elections for us this time round".

"We recognise that, but it was difficult times and it was against a very hard backdrop," she said.

Mr Johnson failed to secure the massive win predicted by some opinion polls - and at one stage, as the count was delayed, it looked as if the Labour candidate might overtake him.


Mr Livingstone announced his apparent retirement from frontline politics in his losing speech, saying "this will be my last election".

Later, he apologised for failing to secure victory, but said the campaign had been "vicious and unpleasant" and blamed "incredibly slanted" media coverage which he said had led to his key pledge - to cut fares - being "marginalised".

He said that as mayor, Mr Johnson had "carried on opening the things I started", but not done anything to plan ahead for London's future.

London Mayor council results

Name Party Votes
Johnson CON 1,054,811
Livingstone LAB 992,273

"If we have another four years like that, then by the end of this decade London will be insufferable. The population's growing, you've got to massively expand housing, you've go to expand the transport capacity.

"It will be the mayor two down the road from here who then faces a real crisis."

Labour's London-wide Assembly vote was up 14.3% on 2008, while the Conservatives were down 4.7%.

Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington Diane Abbott - told BBC Breakfast there had been a "relentless media campaign" against Mr Livingstone but that people across the country were turning away from the coalition government.

"Whereas these local elections have proved to the Labour Party that we're going in the right direction - even if we've still got a lot to do - they're proving to Cameron that he's in the wrong direction," she said.

The BBC's political correspondent Tim Reid said there was now huge pressure on both David Cameron and Nick Clegg to change course and drop certain policies from next week's Queen's Speech.

Some backbench Conservatives are urging Mr Cameron to abandon more liberal-minded policies like gay marriage, while some Lib Dems want Mr Clegg to put greater distance between them and the Tories.

UKIP blunder

Labour secured eight of the London Assembly's 14 first-past-the-post constituencies, gaining two from the Tories, which left them with six.

The 38.1% turnout in London was down 6.7% on 2008 when Mr Johnson and Mr Livingstone last went head-to-head in the race for City Hall.

To cap a dreadful night at the polls for the Liberal Democrats, mayoral candidate Brian Paddick lost more than half of his 2008 vote.

Independent Siobhan Benita, a political newcomer, was the surprise package of the night, threatening at one point to come third ahead of Mr Paddick and the Green's Jenny Jones.

She has told the BBC she plans to stand again in 2016, adding that people were "disillusioned with party politics" and wanted "a new type of public leader".

UKIP's hopes of returning to the London Assembly appear to have been dashed - but the party blamed an administrative blunder by their officials, which led to candidates being listed as "Fresh choice for London" rather than UKIP.

· All the latest election results are available at


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  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Funnily enough, Ken's leaving speech was more connected with the new zeitgeist than anything I've heard from a mainstream politician. It's as though, rather than their public displays of ignorance, politicians secretly know the issues raised by recent protests but are wilfully ignorant of them... until it doesn't matter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Comment .3 was spot on about ken but it got reported what a shame also .7 rob . If the people who voted were to simple to understand how voting works they shouldn't be allowed . Sour grapes and all that jazz

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    29. Controlled Pair
    "Left wing dinosaurs are dying out."
    Can't wait! Make way for the Left Wing spring chickens!

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    No one cares.

    Boris is London's problem and the nation's joke. Just enjoy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    I'm sick of people talking down Labour I don’t like them but they are a damn site better than Conservative. I live in Scotland thankfully and we have the SNP well done by the way SNP. But no one seems to be saying this Labour did not caused a spending problem by fixing Schools and all the rest that Conservative never spent on when they were in last. you could say Conservative caused it

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    @28: No. Just no. The budget was in MUCH better shape when Labour got it - the schools and hospitals were the way we were because thats the level we could afford to keep them. What you have done is said that the poor man who borrows £1 million and lives it up has done much better with his money. Things look sunnier until one day he realises he has to pay that all back. "There's no money left"...

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    As an ex- Greater Londoner I guess my views aren't so valid anymore, but it's hard not to like Boris who seems to be a more genuine and honest candidate who has the best interests of Londoners at heart. What is really a damning statement is the low turnout. People just seem very apathetic about politics in general. I guess low confidence in the whole system prevails.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    Is this ALL that London can come up with? How many millions has it got?
    OMG! How very sad!

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    28. Jamie... yes, you are right.

    29. Controlled pair - and you are a pair of what exactly? Judging by your comments, I could certainly hazard a guess......

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Two brave British Soldiers die in Afghanistan serving their country and this London Mayor story is at the top...

    [shakes head in disgust & horror]

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    I thought these elections are about Scotland, England and Wales not about London why is this getting so much coverage?

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    The Media in london was completely against Ken. Boris had a family member as editor of the Evening Standard.

    Labour is not really a progressive party and full of atlanticist cow boys who refused to Back Ken. Ken is a hero, and a force for positive change in the world.

    What this election shows, is Labour and Conservatives start for the same special intrest, and wont back an anti war candidate

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Sad day. London has to put up with the feckless celeb for another 4 years when all he proved in the first 4 was that London does not need the expense of a Mayor. Which is billions a year incidentally. Literally billions. Sad day. Now censor me for feckless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Is this really the top news in the country?
    Far as I'm aware the rest of England gets its own section. Wales gets its own section and Scotland gets its own section.

    Not like SNP healthcare policy gets the same report as Boris's 'buses'(!); time for London to learn its place. Just a concentrated region, but a region none the less and no bigger than any other.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Ah well, at least we should get a Gold in the wiff-waff at the Olympics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    These results mean that less than one fifth of the electorate showed any 'preference' for our re-elected Mayor. If this is democracy then its rotten to the core,

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Surely the real story in all this is how disillusioned the population is with all our politicians. Nobody cares which self-serving corrupt incompetent numpty gets in anymore.

    Politicians are presumably all just praying our apathy doesn't morph into anything more militant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    I suppose at least Boris has some personality to him, He's certainly a darn sight more endearing than the rest of the politicians in Parliament.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.



  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    the rest of the country is amused. - we like the Londoners sense of humour. it must be constant entertainment to have a clown as mayor! let hope they make him leader of the Tory party for the next election.


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