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.

ยท All the latest election results are available at


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  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    @68 Oh come on. The SNP are not known as the Scottish Tories for no reason. They couldn't break the Labour heartlands in the Central Belt, so what hope would they have trying to run a country. None is your answer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    A 3% victory is hardly a resounding success. To beat Ken of all people by only 3% also speaks volumes; this is a man who's own party refused to support him publicly, yet he obviously attracted a massive share of the vote against the supposed shoe-in.

    Why have the Tories allowed that to happen? Or will they just say it's 'mid-term blues' and forget all about it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    61.Richard we get coverage of England football England cricket England rugby and well fed up with Olympics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    I guess many posters are just happy with this result because Boris is a Tory and/or makes them laugh, but from a political point of view he's not been a bad mayor, and I know of people who would prefer to vote Labour, actually voted Boris for that reason. It's an alien concept to many to vote for someone on actual political merit rather than whether you like their face or not, but there you go.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    If you want a figurehead that understands the big picture but can't grasp the detail then BORIS is your man. When he was our MP for Henley, no bins got emptied but we were on telly every day!

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    @65 Suboran

    "Boris Bikes" were in fact Ken's idea. But let's not let facts get in the way of anything.

    How that bumbling buffoon has managed to win again beggars belief. I have yet to see him speak even once in a coherent and rational manner.

    On a positive note, him leading the Tory party can only be a good thing for the working man.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    He's not Mayor of the City of London. If he really wants to get a good deal for Londoners, he should push for more corporation tax from the City of London. He should plug the tax leaks of the offshore tax haven status of the City of London. The City is still geographically at the heart of his jurisdiction but he has absolutely no authority over what it does and how much tax it pays.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    I'm not an economist but if you play a game that you have to build a little city and watch it grow if you do not spend on anything your city will fall to pieces. Then when the next player takes the job they spend and build it up they then cause a deficit problem because of the last player done nothing thankfully SNP are doing brilliant up here in Scotland Conservative and Lib Dems are through here

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Well done Ken,
    Extremely close, if the labour party had of backed you a bit more, 3% or if you'd appeared a few more times on have I got news for you, who knows.
    Congratulations to Boris, do your best for London and remember 44% voted for you and 56% didn't. In the 2nd round it was 55% Ken and 45% Boris.
    Time to put party politics behind and people first as neither of you won a mandate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    46 NF - we all empathise with our lads killed abroad but I think you're on the wrong thread, mate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Thank goodness he is back, London has been so much better since Mr Johnson was elected.

    Just take a look at the use of 'Boris bikes' for example

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    Ignorance_Is-Bliss @25
    Do you, as a cyclist, pay road tax, insurance or get an MOT every year?
    No? Then why do you and your like keep bleating on about special privileges of the road. Start contributing for the construction and maintenance of them and I would be the first to bleat with you

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    if you win an election by one vote or you win an election by one hundred thousand votes you have still won an election.

    The BBC seems a little bit bitter about the outcome.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    A message to all you UKIP supporters:

    ''Oh its all gone quiet over there,
    Oh its all gone quiet over there
    Oh its all gone quiet, all gone quiet
    All gone quiet over there.''

    Do you think I'm pleased?

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    @ Grimshaw

    'no bigger than any other'?

    Scotland: 5,222,100
    Wales: 3,006,400
    Northern Ireland: 1,799,392
    Greater London: 7,753,600

    Sure seems bigger...

    And by the way cast your mind back to the Scottish parliament elections and we (yes even us Londoners) had wall-to-wall coverage on BBC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Lets be honest now; who else would you choose to oversee the development of one of the (if not THE) most important and influential cities the world has ever seen?

    Obviously a comical but foolish, messy-haired Brit named Boris! :)

    A clear winner in my eyes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    AHHHHH! I'm elated. I know he may appear to have absolutely no common sense but he is an extremely ambitious person and has seen fantastic growth while in office. At least Londoners know how to vote for the correct candidate. As for the North of England, we've seen unparalleled ignorance among the voters; who just seem to vote for whoever isn't in power at the time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.




  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    They were, and are, both morons as is the coalition government (that were not actually voted in, they got in on a technicality of a hung parliament). We don't need a mayor especially not a stuck up, privileged, incoherent adulteress buffoon like Johnson. Livingston was no better, yes he was bitter and twisted at the end but maybe that is because this is his true colours.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Fantastic. London has successfully held off the socialists in their vicious attempt to snatch the mayoralty, much to the blatant dismay of the BBC. Comment quickly before the socialists get here.


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