4 May 2012

LIVE BLOG: Election analysis as Boris beats Ken in London

Latest reaction and analysis after a successful night for Labour in the local elections. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson looks set to beat off Ken Livingstone in the battle to be London mayor.

Labour gain more than 800 council seats, Tories lose 405
Boris Johnson wins London mayoral race
Defeated Ken Livingstone: ‘This is my last election’

00.00 Boris Johnson is named London’s new mayor. He thanks voters for the “new chance” to represent Londoners. Ken Livingstone comes second and says “this is my last election”. He also praises third-placed Jenny Jones for her “huge breakthrough” for the Greens. Read more.

23.50 The mayoral result in London is expected to be declared within minutes.

23.20 Not quite declaration time yet, but it’s widely accepted Boris Johnson has clinched the 2012 mayoral race by a slim margin.

23.00 The mayoral count in London is being finished by hand. Boris Johnson, for the Conservatives, is still expected to win, but Ken Livingstone could still snatch it via second choice votes.

22.00 After 13 of 14 constituencies declared in London, Boris Johnson is ahead. Damaged ballot papers and two boxes of uncounted votes caused new delays at the count.

21.50 There is still no estimated time for a declaration in the battle for London mayor. Latest figures from the count can be found here. It’s been a good night for the Green Party whose candidate Jenny Jones is in third place, ahead of the Liberal Democrats’ Brian Paddick.

21.00 Boris Johnson is on course to beat Ken Livingstone in the London mayoral race by a margin of 2-3 per cent.

19.30 With the complete local elections picture emerging, the projected low turnout level appeared looks to have been a little over 30 per cent nationwide. A figure of this kind would only just exceed the low turnout watermark of 12 years ago.

19.20 Boris Johnson remains firmly ahead of Ken Livingstone in the London mayoral elections, but the result looks as though it may be closer than originally thought. Labour’s Tessa Jowell: “It’s obviously a very, very tight race, tighter than I thought it was going to be, and let’s see.” Read more here.

18.00 The race between Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone narrows to three points. Is all still to play for? Meanwhile, the prime minister’s enthusiastic call for “a Boris in every city” has been dealt a firm rebuff by voters, who rejected the introduction of elected mayors in eight cities. In referendums held around England, only Bristol voted to create an elected mayor and Doncaster to retain theirs.

FactCheck: Why Labour won’t win the next general election… probably

17.35 The four faces of Ed. That egg incident:

16.35 Labour secure an overall majority on Glasgow City council.

Labour leader Ed Miliband is hit with an egg while giving a TV interview. The egg broke onto Mr Miliband’s jacket, which he quickly removed and gave to an aide as the man ran off down the street. He finished the interview in just a shirt and tie, made an exit and went back to his car. He later Tweeted: “For those wondering about egg’s origins, fairly sure it wasn’t free range but nothing can take away from cracking result in Southampton…”

16.45: Brian Paddick seems to have suffered a worse than expected defeat in his bid to be mayor of London, says political analyst Lewis Baston (@lewis_baston). He, Siobhan Benita and Jenny Jones of the Greens are all neck and neck for third place, each with around 4 per cent. Jenny Jones’ campaign has explicitly recommended a second preference for Ken Livingstone, whereas the Lib Dems are not a vote funnel for either main candidate.

It’s a sign of how deep Lib Dem problems run in London that a plausible candidate like Paddick, with some good policy ideas, has performed so humiliatingly and that the lib Dems are on course for a bad result in the assembly.

16.30 Only one city – Leeds – now has to declare on whether or not it wants an elected mayor. Eight have declared against and one, Bristol, in favour.

Earlier today Marc Reeves, a political adviser and former editor of the Birmingham Post, told Channel 4 News: “What’s going to be interesting is, having started a conversation about mayoral cities getting more resources, is the government suddenly going to pull those prospects away from council leaders like Birmingham’s Sir Albert Bore, who won a massive majority last night and can justifiably say to government: ‘I have a mandate that is every bit as impressive as what you could have expected a mayor to get.'”

16.25 Is Labour on the march – or are the Tories just staying at home? Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon blogs: “In every council I’ve looked at, you find that for every 10 people that voted Labour in 2011 council elections, about eight or nine voted Labour yesterday. But for every 10 that voted Tory in 2011, only six did the same thing again yesterday.

“This all suggests that labour isn’t converting ex-Tory voters in great numbers but that 2010 and 2011 Tory voters are staying at home.”

16.15 It’s clear Labour are doing better than expected in Scotland, says political analyst Lewis Baston (@lewis_baston), gaining Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire, although losing Midlothian and possibly Glasgow. The SNP surge of 2011 has not been repeated – it’s more like the narrow SNP victory of 2007.

Labour probably has benefited from having incumbent local councillors who have personal votes. Both Labour and the SNP seem to have profited from the Lib Dems’ decline.

15.55 Penguin defeats Lib Dem candidate. The Huffington Post is reporting that Professor Pongoo (real name Mike Ferrigan), an Edinburgh council election candidate, has polled more votes than Liberal Democrat and Green Party candidates in the city.

Professor Pongoo (pictured below, from his Facebook page), who failed to secure an Edinburgh council seat, had pledged to attend council meetings in a penguin outfit.

15.45 Labour MP Tessa Jowell, on the BBC, is asked to explain the discrepancy between the 4.5 per cent swing to Labour in the country and the fact that Conservative Boris Johnson looks likely to defeat Ken Livingstone in London.

She refuses to comment ahead of the announcement of the result, but she states she is pleased at the way the London campaign unfolded. She says the battle was between a Labour candidate who had “a very clear policy programme, and Boris Johnson, who makes a lot of people laugh”.

15.35 Labour council seat gains have now topped 700. Labour now controls 69 of the 165 councils so far declared, including Birmingham, Cardiff, Reading and Plymouth. The Lib Dems, meanwhile, have lost 265 council seats. The Conservative tally is down by 378, to 938.

15.25 Read Strathclyde University’s John Curtice on why the Labour Party “has done better than expected” in Scotland.

15.10 Wakefield joins Manchester, Nottingham, Coventry and Bradford in rejecting an elected mayor. Only Bristol has so far voted in favour.

15.00 The London Elects website currently has the Green Party’s Jenny Jones, the Lib Dems’ Brian Paddick, and independent candidate Siobhan Benita neck and neck in the running for third position in the vote for London mayor.

14.50 Political analyst Prof Leighton Vaughan Williams, from the Nottingham Business School, tells Channel 4 News: “The Conservatives don’t seem to have made inroads into the Lib Dem vote. If anything, there’s a small swing from Conservatives to Lib Dems. In the Conservative/Lib Dem battlegrounds, it’s actually the Lib Dems who are doing a little better against the Conservatives than they were in 2008.”

14.40 The London Elects website puts Boris Johnson in the lead in the London mayor vote, ahead of Ken Livingstone and the Green Party’s Jenny Jones in third. Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick is fourth, having languished in fifth position until recently.

14.25 The BNP look like they’ve been crushed, says political analyst Lewis Baston (@lewis_baston). They’ve lost nine out of nine seats they were defending. It’s no great surprise, given where they were last year, but still they’re doing worse than then – they held a seat in Bradford last year, which they’ve not held this time round. They’re most unlikely to get anyone elected to the London Assembly. So the BNP seem to be on the way out as a political force.

14.15: The city of Bristol has bucked the trend and voted in favour of an elected mayor. The vote was 53 per cent in favour on a very low turnout: only 23.1 per cent.

14.05 Is David Cameron’s policy to instal a “Mayor Boris” in every major English city now in tatters? Voters in Manchester, Nottingham, Coventry and Bradford have already rejected the idea. Read more: Voters say no to ‘Mayor Boris in every city’.

13.45 Analysis from Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon: Look at the detailed figures for council elections in England and a pattern emerges that should temper Labour’s excitement. Look at the absolute numbers of votes cast in councils like Bury, Reading, Dudley, Southampton, Harlow, where Labour’s made serious gains in council seats and a pattern emerges. Turnout is down quite substantially from last year’s locals, from around 40 per cent to somewhere between 30/33 per cent. In every council I’ve looked at you find that for every 10 people that voted Labour in 2011 council elections, about 8 or 9 voted Labour yesterday. But for every 10 that voted Tory in 2011 only 6 did the same thing again yesterday.
Read more: Labour on the march? or Tories staying at home?

13.00: Chipping Norton, famously home of David Cameron and his “set”, saw Labour gain a seat from the Conservative in the local elections, explains our analyst Lewis Baston (@lewis_baston). The other Chipping Norton councillor is already Labour. It’s a case of an area whose voting behaviour rather belies its social reputation. The results in West Oxfordshire council, which covers Witney, David Cameron’s constituency, saw several Labour gains. The Tories swept all before them when Cameron first became leader, but the 2012 elections saw their tide ebbing. This was in contrast to neighbouring Cherwell council, covering Banbury, where the Conservative results in 2012 were better than they were in 2011.

12.30 As the count continues in Scotland, the battle to be London mayor is the next big focal point as the Tories hope it will bring them some cheer. Boris Johnson looks set to beat off the challenge from former mayor Ken Livingstone. The result is due this evening. You can follow live progress at the count here.

12.00 Analysis from Lewis Baston (@lewis_baston), political analyst and senior research fellow with Democratic Audit: “Labour seems to be doing better than expected in Scotland so far. Turnout is reasonably high compared to England – it’s early days but we seem to be getting turnouts in Scotland of up to 40-42 per cent, whereas in England and Wales they’re down to 32 per cent or so.”

11.45 Labour is ahead in Glasgow after the first round of declarations. The city is a key battleground with the SNP, which has won five seats to Labour’s seven across the first four of 21 multi-member wards.

11.30 Labour is celebrating election success in Wales after taking control of nine councils.
Labour has won the “big three” of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport – completing a hat trick over rivals the Liberal Democrats. Labour also managed to take the Vale of Glamorgan from the Conservatives as well make gains from Plaid Cymru.

11.18 Our Political Correspondent Michael Crick says a senior Glasgow Labour source tells him they’re doing “very well”.

10.45 Ed Miliband greets supporters in Birmingham where Labour have swept back to power with a huge majority ending eight years of Tory-Lib Dem rule. The Labour leader said the message from the results was also that his party was “getting back in touch with people’s concerns”.

10.30 David Cameron says “these are difficult times” and says the results reflect the fact there “aren’t easy decisions” in times of economic hardship.

09.30 Nick Clegg concedes it was a “disappointing and difficult night for the Liberal Democrats”. He adds: “I’m determined we will continue to play our role in rescuing, repairing and reforming the British economy. Our duty is to boost jobs and investment and to restore a sense of hope and optimism to our country.”

09.20 Labour leader Ed Miliband speaks to reporters after a good night at the polls for his party. He says: “I’m determined to work tirelessly in the coming years up to the next general election, to show we can change this country to work for you. So that it can work for your son or daughter looking for a job, so that we can deal with the squeeze on living standards, and above all, so that Britain changes from a country that works for a few people at the top, to a country that works for everybody.

“I know that David Cameron promised change, and has disappointed people. I’m determined that we can deliver Britain the change it needs.”

09.00 Council leader in west Plymouth Vivien Pengelly is among the many Conservatives who lost their seat overnight. She believes the poor performance by her party is “a protest vote against the government”. She says: “We have to sit up, we have to listen to the public. David Cameron will know in the next week or so, exactly how I feel – that what he’s done, including the Jeremy Hunt fiasco and all that, he will certainly know from me, how it’s affected us in Plymouth.”

Labour sweeps across England and Wales, taking more than 800 seats from the Tories and Lib Dems. ln total, Labour gained 823 councillors, the Tories lost 405 and Lib Dems 336, taking the party’s total number of councillors below 3,000 for the first time since 1988. Meanwhile Liverpool elected Joe Anderson as its first elected mayor as eight cities said no to bringing in the directly-elected mayoral system. Only Bristol said yes. UKIP gained 14 per cent of their share of the vote where they stood, making inroads into the Conservative vote. The estimated national turnout was little more than 30 per cent, the lowest since 2000.

LIVE BLOG: English and Welsh local elections

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