Observations On Boris Johnson gave the Conservatives a much needed boost as he win the second time around. To do it justice One has included the article below:
Boris Johnson gave the Conservatives a much needed boost as he secured a second London mayoral term after beating his Labour rival Ken Livingstone in a bitterly fought rematch.
After weeks of intensive campaigning on both sides and a count that went on well into Friday night, Johnson denied Livingstone a second political comeback after being declared the winner of the London-wide election on a tighter than expected margin of three percentage points (51.53% to 48.47%) – the narrowest to date in the London mayoral election.
Following a long wait in a nail biting final result delayed until minutes before midnight due to glitches in the counting process, Johnson promised to devote his second four-year term to “fighting for a good deal for Londoners”, while Livingstone announced he had fought his last election following a defeat he described as the one “I most regret” in a political career spanning more than four decades.
Johnson’s re-election victory provided a consolation prize for Conservatives, who lost around 400 council seats, on a grim day for both coalition parties. But the mayoral race offered no such cheer to the Liberal Democrats, who for the first time came fourth behind the Green party.
The result gave closure to a bitterly fought campaign. Johnson admitted in his victory speech it had been a “long and gruelling” campaign.
But while Johnson held on to his job, Richard Barnes, one of Johnson’s deputy mayors, was among those to be bounced out of City Hall on a day of mixed results for the Tories in London, which saw the assembly group lose two of its 11 seats.
Livingstone’s defeat was partly offset by four gains for Labour, making it the largest group on the assembly with 12 seats.
The Liberal Democrats lost one of their three seats, while the Green party maintained two. The opposition numbers are not enough to block Johnson’s budget, which requires a two-thirds majority on the 25 strong assembly.
Johnson, who campaigned on a nine-point plan for “jobs and growth” pledged to make sure Londoners, especially young people in the city, were “ready to take the jobs” that are being created.
He also paid tribute to his Labour rival, saying: “Of all the left-wing politicians I can think of during your long period in office … you have been the most creative and the most original. And, if only you will promise not to stand again, I much look forward to having that non-taxpayer funded drink that we have so far not managed to fit into our diaries.”
For Livingstone, the result marked the end of a long political career which began when he was elected as a Labour councillor in Lambeth in 1971. “This is my last election,” Livingstone told fellow-candidates and supporters after the results were announced in the City Hall chamber.
Johnson not only retains the keys to City Hall but will preside over the Olympic Games in London this summer, as well as strengthening his position in the party ahead of an expected return to Westminster in 2015 or 2016.
Tensions mounted after the final result was significantly delayed when two batches of ballot papers had to be re-processed for the Brent and Harrow constituency count. The long wait for a result saw Labour perform twists and turns, with Livingstone’s camp privately admitting they had lost by mid-afternoon, before then denying they had conceded defeat.
As more votes were counted, Labour claimed predictions Johnson would storm to victory were looking more uncertain as results from areas where Labour expected strong support had yet to declare. Tessa Jowell, shadow Olympics minister and chair of Livingstone’s campaign, played down media speculation that the Tory candidate would “walk away with it”.
But the hoped for turnaround never materialised.
Peter Kellner, president of pollsters YouGov, said had Livingstone matched Labour’s swing in a capital where Labour significantly outperforms the Tories, “he would have won by a landslide”.
The results will add to the woes of the Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, but were personally disappointing for Brian Paddick. The former senior police officer delivered a more polished performance than during his previous campaign in 2008, when he finished in third place.
For Livingstone, efforts to woo outer boroughs, which had cost him crucial votes in 2008, appeared to have been in vain. Despite a strategy of blitzing the outer London ring by focusing on boroughs such as Croydon, Bromley, Bexley, Havering and Hillingdon, the tactic did not fully succeed in peeling away voters from his Tory rival, who significantly outperformed on charisma in a contest in which personality played a large part.
Two days before the poll, Labour leader Ed Miliband sought to remind voters that Johnson, at the end of the day, was a Conservative. “Boris Johnson has proven to be a typical Tory as mayor, raising fares, cutting services and standing up only for the powerful or wealthy in London.”
But the pitch failed to sway the final verdict and Livingstone was left contemplating his future.
Tony Travers, director of the Greater London group at the London School of Economics, said: “Labour did very well in London and Ken did significantly less well. A different candidate would almost certainly have done far better. Ken’s baggage was significant. Boris enormously outperformed the Tories on a really rotten day for them in the capital.” Johnson is expected to turn up to City Hall chamber on Saturday to sign in alongside the 25 newly elected assembly members responsible for scrutinising him for the next four years. Johnson is also expected to outline his plans for the next few months.
But on top of losing his statutory deputy mayor, Johnson faces a more serious blow to his administration amid rumours that one of his closest aides, Guto Harri, is poised to leave city hall by 14 May.
Harri, Johnson’s director of communications, confirmed that approaches had been made, but refused to confirm his departure or rumours that a job at News International beckons.
Meanwhile, the UK Independence party was rueing the decision to list the party “Fresh Choice for London”, rather than Ukip on the ballot paper, ahead of results that were expected to see the party left without a seat on the assembly for a second time. Party leader Nigel Farage said the blunder probably meant large numbers of would-be supporters assumed Ukip was not taking part in the ballot and gave their vote to someone else in the mayoral and assembly elections.
Residents of Bradford, Coventry, Manchester, Sheffield, Wakefield, Birmingham, Newcastle and Nottingham have all chosen to retain the current system of local government – through which the council leader is chosen by other elected councillors, rather than a mayor elected by voters.
However, Bristol voters have opted for a system of an elected mayor.
In Manchester the ‘no’ vote won 53.2% on a low 24% turnout of 91,270, while Coventry recorded a more overwhelming 63.6% vote in favour of maintaining the status quo on a turnout of 62,102.
Voters in Nottingham voted ‘no’ to a city mayor by a margin of 52.5% to 47.5% and in Bradford by 55.1% to 44.9%. Nearly tow thirds of Sheffield voted chose to retain the leadership system.
In Bristol, from a turnout of 24%, 41,032 people voted in favour of a mayor, while 35,880 voted against
Early polling figures suggest widespread apathy, with turnout in some wards across the country as low as 8%.
In an interview with London’s Evening Standard on Wednesday, the prime minister said: ‘I am giving the country the chance to have many more Borises [via elected mayors in the big cities]. I want a Boris in Birmingham, I want a Boris in Leeds, I want a Boris in Bradford. They don’t all have to be members of the Johnson family.’
But responding to the early results, housing minister Mr Shapps told Sky News this morning: ‘People should have the right to decide how they are governed in their local area. The whole point is to give people a say. No-one is forcing mayors on anyone.’
In Liverpool – which had agreed with ministers a ‘City Deal’ promising greater devolved powers in exchange for a stronger mayoral governance arrangement – Labour council leader Joe Anderson secured his position as the city’s first elected mayor, winning just under 60% of the vote on a 30.8% turnout.
City mayor results are still pending at Salford, as is the outcome of Doncaster’s vote on whether the authority retain its mayoral model.
Ahead of results of the London mayoral election, which are expected between 7pm and midnight tonight, final polling predicts incumbent mayor, Boris Johnson will be returned for a second term of office – with a six point lead over nearest rival Ken Livingstone.
David Cameron’s dream of elected mayors in all major cities looked to be in tatters Yesterday.
Voters in Birmingham Manchester, Nottingham, Coventry and Bradford said no to the idea in referendums and there were signs that other cities may have followed suit.
The results are embarrassing for the Prime Minister, who had thrown his weight firmly behind the change.
Mr Cameron had attempted to use the example of London Mayor Boris Johnson, saying he wanted a “Boris in every city.”
However critics argued that the proposals were unnecessary and would add another expensive layer of bureaucracy.
Manchester voted against by a margin of 53.24 per cent to 46.76 per cent and Nottingham by 57.5 per cent to 42.5 per cent. Both cities had a low turnout of 24 per cent.
The outcome in Coventry was more resounding, with just 36.42 per cent backing the change and 63.58 per cent opposing it. In Bradford the vote was 44.87 per cent for and 55.13 per cent against.
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.”
However Bristol bucked the national trend and voted for an elected mayor.
Two years of brutal Con-Dem cuts and failings have left the nation seeing red as Labour gained hundreds of seats across local councils on 3 May 2012.
In the backdrop of a double-dip recession, despite massive cuts to jobs and services, the mid-term local elections saw Conservatives dramatically lose 11 councils to Labour with the Liberal Democrats losing one.
Birmingham, Southampton, Plymouth, Reading, Norwich, Thurrock and Harlow were some of the key boroughs that fell to Labour, which party leader Ed Miliband said was a sign that “we are winning back people’s trust.”
Unions argued that massive local council spending and job cuts, due to the decimation of their budgets by coalition “austerity measures,” played a part.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said that the coalition was “paying the price” for its policies, with 625 public-sector jobs lost every day since the general election in May 2010.
He said: “The voting results today show that the country has had enough of the coalition’s austerity Britain and of no-hope, dead-end policies that have dragged the country back into recession.
“Voters have said a massive No to drastic cuts to vital council services such as libraries, leisure centres, day-care centres for the elderly, careers advice for our young people and the closing of Sure Start centres.”Labour gained more than 600 seats as the Morning Star went to press, with the Tories having lost more than 300 and Lib Dems losing more than 150.
The party’s deputy leader Harriet Harman said: “We are back in touch and we are making progress.
“These are undoubtedly encouraging results. We are not crowing about them but they are very encouraging.”
Prime Minister David Cameron suffered the double embarrassment of losing seats in his own constituency as Labour snatched Witney Central, Witney East and Chipping North.
“I am determined that we will continue to play our role in rescuing, repairing and reforming the British economy,” Mr Cameron stated.
About 5,000 seats were at stake today on 181 local councils across England, Scotland and Wales.
The results in Scotland, where 1,223 seats are up for grabs, continued to come through as the paper went to press.
Tory MP Gary Streeter blamed the poor performance on the party not being right-wing enough.
He said party supporters were “gagging” for some more traditional right-wing policies in areas such as law and order.
Foreign Secretary William Hague took the opportunity to blame Lib Dems.
He said: “Of course the Conservatives can’t do everything that we would like to do in government because we are in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.”
Hapless Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg described himself as “really sad.”