News In Depth
Johnson ahead in London Mayor race
Conservative Boris Johnson is leading the race to run London as counting continues.
Labour rival Ken Livingstone is trailing behind on first preferences after a bitter campaign that has seen the two men clash furiously in public and in private.
Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick faces the embarrassment of potentially being pushed behind into fourth or fifth place as the Green's Jenny Jones currently stands in third while Independent Siobhan Benita is close behind him.
Although election organiser London Elects is not releasing precise figures for ballot papers counted, graphs on its website show a clear advantage for Mr Johnson in the first round of the mayoral contest. If no candidate takes more than 50% of the vote it will go to a second round.
The Conservative candidate's standing, however, is not being replicated by his party in London.
Labour is ahead in the vote for London-wide Assembly candidates followed by the Tories while the Lib Dems are in fourth place behind the Greens.
London Elects' graphs put Labour ahead in eight of the Assembly's 14 first-past-the-post constituencies, with Tories on course to take the other six.
This would mean a two-seat loss for Conservatives and the Assembly looked almost certain to remain under no overall control.
In the five seats declared so far, four were Conservatives and one Labour.
Labour leader Ed Miliband refused to concede Labour's defeat in the mayoral race.
He said: "It has been a closely fought campaign in London. We will see what the results are."
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls acknowledged that Mr Johnson might win "despite his association with David Cameron and George Osborne, rather than because of it".
But with the party doing well in the London Assembly contests, he told BBC: "It certainly suggests that Labour, when it's Labour, it's doing very well compared to the Conservatives across London and we've seen that in by-elections as well.
"But there was a personality contest in which Boris Johnson said 'Vote for me even though I'm a Tory' and it looks like he may... we'll wait and see, but if he wins I think it will be despite his association with David Cameron and George Osborne, rather than because of it.
"I backed Ken Livingstone, I think he was the best mayor London's had so far. I think he would be a better mayor for London on Tube fares and jobs and housing than Boris Johnson who, let's be honest, is a bit of a joker, a bit of a buffoon."
He added that the mayor's powers, particularly over taxes, were limited and "the truth is you can vote for Boris because he cracks good jokes without that actually making much difference to your wallet or your purse".
what do you think?
well mr Clegg, when you persist with stupid policies, to get in with minority groups, what do you except?, I think that unless you have a revival of policy, and come into the real world, you will lose
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