UK & World News
Boris Expected To Win London Mayor Race
Boris Johnson is hoping to restore some pride to an election-battered Tory party by being re-elected as London mayor.
The Conservatives have suffered major defeats in local elections across the country, losing hundreds of seats to Labour.
The Lib Dems have also lost heavily in a swathe of bad results for the coalition.
But as counting continued into Friday evening, the numbers suggested Mr Johnson, the Tory candidate for London mayor, would win a second term.
Michael Thrasher, from the University of Plymouth, told Sky News it would take a "very spectacular result indeed" for him not to be re-elected.
Election organiser London Elects was not releasing figures for ballot papers counted, but graphs on its website showed a clear early advantage for Mr Johnson in first-preference votes.
However, it was almost certainly not enough to take him over the 50% threshold needed to avoid a second-round run-off against Labour's Ken Livingstone.
Sky News chief political correspondent Jon Craig said this afternoon: "I'm hearing at City Hall that with about two-thirds of votes counted, Boris has 45%, Ken 40%.
"The Independent candidate is neck-and-neck with Green and Lib Dem."
Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrats) was trailing well behind the two front-runners, apparently locked in a battle for third, fourth and fifth places with Jenny Jones (Green) and Siobhan Benita (Independent), the website showed.
The role of London mayor commands the largest personal mandate in British politics, and the contest to run the capital is central to the Conservatives' strategy.
Although most local election results were announced overnight, full results for the London mayoral contest are not expected until this evening.
As well as the London battle, 10 cities from across the country held referendums on whether to have elected mayors.
Nottingham and Manchester were among cities to reject the idea - another major blow for Mr Cameron, who supports the idea.
Nottingham voted "no" by a margin of 57.5% to 42.5%, on a turnout of less than 24%.
Nottingham City Council's Labour leader, Jon Collins, said: "This was a referendum imposed on us by the coalition Government which the majority of local people clearly did not agree with.
"I am pleased with this outcome because an elected mayor would have been expensive and unnecessary.
"This outcome shows that local people recognise we have a system in Nottingham which is working well for them and the city."