Big task looms for Boris Johnson

May 2, 2008

(Updated on May 3 with new headline, election results, reaction and photos)

**For full coverage of the elections go to our special page**

The man described by some as a joke, by others as a brilliant mind has ended Ken Livingstone’s eight-year reign at City Hall.

The verdict is still out on what exactly Boris Johnson’s victory means for the Conservative Party overall but his performance as mayor could help determine whether people will vote for the Tories in a general election next time.

Johnson, whose experience of running big projects is limited, will lead one of the world’s most high-profile cities with an 11.3 billion pound budget to run public transport, police and fire services and promote the economy of this global financial centre.

The Labour Party may be hoping that the gaffe-prone “blond bombshell” will prove incapable of doing the job and thus damage the Conservatives chances of winning the next election. Johnson will have to get cracking soon with strong policies to bolster his image and become the ambassador that the Tories need him to be as the capital’s mayor.

Johnson paid generous tribute to Livingstone in his victory speech, describing him as “a very considerable public servant” and acknowledging that many who had voted for him had been wavering when it came to casting their votes.

“You shaped the office of mayor. You gave it national prominence and when London was attacked on 7 July 2005 you spoke for London,” Johnson said after he was declared winner in what had turned out to be a marathon vote count lasting well over 12 hours, partly due to a record turnout of 45 percent.

Livingstone in return offered to help Johnson and said that the responsibility for his defeat lay with him and him alone.

The Conservative candidate won with 1,168,738 first and second preference votes, compared with Livingstone’s 1,028,966.

Johnson Cons 1,043,761 42.48 124,977 1,168,738
Livingstone Labour 893,877 36.38 135,089 1,028,966
Paddick Lib Dem 236,685 9.63    
Berry Greens 77,374 3.15    
Barnbrook BNP 69,710 2.84    
Craig CPA 39,249 1.6    
Batten UKIP 22,422 0.91    
German LL 16,796 0.68    
O’Connor END 10,695 0.44    
McKenzie IND 5,389 0.22    

Source: London Elects

The Johnson victory in London has added to Conservative delight at pushing Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party to its worst performance on record in local elections elsewhere in England and Wales.

Senior Conservative sources said they would be “gobsmacked” if Johnson did not win the mayoral contest, the Daily Telegraph said.

Even Minister for London Tessa Jowell conceded as we waited for the final result: “You’re absolutely right that it looks, at the moment, as if Boris Johnson is ahead,” she told the BBC.

Confidence of a Tory win was boosted after one bookmaker announced it was paying out on a Boris Johnson victory hours before the official result is expected later this evening.

Opinion polls had put Livingstone and Johnson neck-and-neck, with LibDem candidate Brian Paddick a distant third.


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A good website but the ‘muddled’ style you use under “Tags” is annoying and the oppoiste of informative or user-friendly. It’s a gimicky style which was widely adopted for a while but has been largely dropped – presumably because smart editors realised it makes information unclear to readers.

As I write, for example, I can read – under “Tags” – :

shadow chancellor tax tax cuts taxes tories UK news.

That is NOT good communication.

Why not drop it and go for clarity in your communications?


Posted by cath | Report as abusive

[…] to the British capital in 2003, has probably been unseated by Tory challenger Boris Johnson, report Reuters and the Evening Standard. Labour lost across the board in UK elections yesterday, and the London […]

Posted by Streetsblog » Third Term for Livingstone Looks Unlikely | Report as abusive

I hope Boris does win just to wipe that smug smile of Ken’s face, Ken and his corrupt colleagues are so bad for London.

Posted by Happy Londoner | Report as abusive

Thank goodness that Labour are going at last-the abolition of the 10% tax is the nail in their coffin-goodbye to the Red Brigade

Posted by Clyde | Report as abusive

I am so pleased Labour got a good kicking and hope Boris has a resounding win in London. And no Gordon/Harriet/Alistair/David/Geoff (Hoon) et al, it wasn’t just the economy and the 10p tax rate, it was unsustainable levels of immigration; a bloated NHS full of admin/clerical/HR/manager-types and not enough nurses and cleaners; an education system that has been skewed for the past 11 years to show that ‘results’ are ‘improving’ when in reality pass-rates have been lowered and lowered; taxes by the back-door so we at the lower end of the spectrum are materially and financially worse off than we have been for fifteen years; politicians who are only in it for themselves (RPi+ pay and pension increases almost annually, CPi- for the rest of us plebs); Transport systems that are falling to pieces; ‘Benefits’ where holidays overseas for 3 or 6 months can be taken annually by claimants while the rest of us flog ourselves to death for two weeks R&R in August to recover from exhaustion, and anyway when did it stop being social security? At least there was an element of shame in that title – benefits means nothing, to no-one, apart from the spongers claiming it as a career move from the day they leave/left school. No, sorry ‘New Labour’, you’ve made a complete hash of things and it was only Bliar’s charisma that kept you where you are for this long. The Jocks saw through you a long time ago and the Taffs seem to be doing so now, so it’s only the north of England who seem now to think Labour is for ‘the working class’ – get some perspective northerners – please – they haven’t been for 25 years and won’t be for as long again into the future. And I am from Hyde myself, in Greater Manchester, so not exactly a ‘southern poof’ as you would have it! I once read, a couple of years ago, in an interview that a grieving Father whose son had died in Iraq gave, that people from his area (Warrington) were ‘genetically bred’ to vote Labour, amazing, I was genetically bred with a brain cell or two myself and can think things through myself and vote Tory. An amazing concept this, the secret vote, honestly, people won’t know who you vote for so for the genereal election in two years time try thinking for yourselves, and do the right thing for you and your families, don’t vote Labour – LibDem, Tory, Green, Pink, whatever, but Labour are not for you.
Rant over!

Posted by David | Report as abusive

You all think Boris has won? No, wait. 30% of Excel boxes found opened.
This will be another pro Labour vote rigging exercise as before.

Posted by Peter Reid | Report as abusive

‘I am a libertarian at heart and always have been’ < Boris Johnson 2007. Show us some hero stuff pleae Boris, we’ve suffered a lot.

Posted by Elizabeth Robillard | Report as abusive

OK – Boris has won! I can accept this result, actually.

I was a Paddick devotee but I am also a fan of Boris’s – so I am very pleased for him and for my place of birth, London – the world’s greatest, richest and most diverse city. And a city of great beauty and style.

I hope Boris keeps his word and uses the brains and acumen of both Paddick and Livingstone.

Even hearing Boris thanking the Londoners who ‘put an X in my box’, elicited guffaws of unexpected laughter. He really is an unintentional funny man!

I think we needed a colourful, larger-than-life person and we have surely got a right one here. Boris is priceless.

I wish him well.

Posted by Keith M Warwick | Report as abusive

So commonsense DID prevail – the dead hand is gone.

The paper shredders and disc wipers will have been working overtime today as the socialists cover their tracks on their way out.

All we need now is another dose of the same, nationwide in 2010.

Posted by Mike T | Report as abusive

Corrupt Ken and his cronies gone, lets hope Boris does a better job, of an ancestor whose great uncle was mayor of Coventry this Capital City, needs to be returned to the ENGLISH get rid of immigrants and clear the streets of crime, let the Met Police do their job, get rid of the red tape and fast track europeans back to where they come from. LONDON is english not Asian, not europeans pick pocketting. get rid of the the forein ghettos it belongs to us the ENGLISH and hand the streets, and homes, our hospitals, our social services all bak to us needs to be done. take back control.

Posted by netts | Report as abusive

David, your sweeping generalisation of people from the North of England thinking Labour is for the working class is demeaning.
It’s like saying all Landaners like jellied eels,pie and mash and doin the Lambeth Walk.

Posted by Cy Nical | Report as abusive