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Labour claims victory for Sadiq Khan as London Mayor for third term despite backlash over hated ULEZ & 20mph zones

SADIQ Khan will be re-elected London Mayor after leading early results, Labour sources have said.

But the claimed victory comes after an overnight scare for the Labour incumbent, with the race for City Hall proving much tighter than expected.

Sadiq and his wife Saadiya Ahmed at the polling station yesterday[/caption]
Khan campaigning earlier this week[/caption]
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street spotted this afternoon[/caption]
Andy Burnham with his family in central Manchester today[/caption]

This afternoon the results of another knife-edge mayoral election in the West Midlands will be announced.

Khan won 83,792 votes in Greenwich and Lewisham, the first London borough to declare its mayoral vote.

His Tory rival Susan Hall was on 36,822 while Zoe Garbett of the Greens came third with 11,209.

Khan also beat Hall in West Central, North East and South West electoral regions.

The former MP himself had warned supporters on Thursday turnout for the elections was low  and therefore the “risk” of the Tories winning had “skyrocketed”.

But his eight-years in office made it more challenging to defend his record from opponents and voters.

Khan’s win comes despite widespread anger over the ULEZ clean-air levy and surging knife crime in the capital.

On his watch, the Metropolitan Police was placed under special measures after a series of failures.

Meanwhile, official figures revealed knife crime in London hit a record high of 14,577 offences in the year to December.

This marked an increase of 20 per cent in 12 months.

His decision to extend his clean air zone, ULEZ, to outer London was also shrouded in controversy and sparked fury among motorists.

The policy proved to be one of the main dividing lines with his Tory rival, who vowed to scrap it.

Among 10 key pledges, Mr Khan offered a one-year Transport for London (TfL) fare freeze and four years of free school meals for primary pupils.

Thirteen candidates were standing for the top job and voters also elected a local London Assembly member and a capital-wide one.

Mayoral votes have little bearing on general election intention as they tend to be much more personality-based.

The London election came alongside votes in 107 local authorities across England and for mayoral positions in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, and Tees Valley.

Turnout for the West Midlands mayoral election was 29.8 per cent, it was revealed earlier today.

Tory incumbent Andy Street looks set to cling onto his job by a narrow margin.

Fellow Conservative Ben Houchen was re-elected as mayor of the Tees Valley yesterday, providing some relief to Rishi Sunak after the party suffered heavy losses.

Labour avoided potential embarrassment in the North East mayoral contest.

Its candidate, Kim McGuinness, overcame independent Jamie Driscoll, who had quit Labour after being barred from running as the party’s candidate.

Labour’s Steve Rotherham has been comfortably re-elected as mayor of Liverpool.

And Keir Starmer’s party also won the South Yorkshire Mayor race, it was announced this lunchtime.

The Tory vote is collapsing across the country

By JACK ELSOM, Chief Political Correspondent

HOWEVER you spin it, the local elections have been inescapably bad for Rishi Sunak.

Across the country the Tory vote is collapsing – from the Red Wall penetrated by Boris Johnson in 2019, to the party’s traditional southern fortresses.

Sir Keir Starmer – the night’s main winner – could not have been quicker in dashing to Blackpool Friday morning for a triumphant by-election victory lap.

It is Brexit-voting towns like this seaside resort he needs to regain if he wants to cruise into No10 some time later this year.

And Labour capturing once-true blue military areas like Rushmoor ought to send shivers up the spine of Conservative high command.

Braved-faced Tory apparatchiks point to the usual caveats: that governing parties always get a kicking outside general elections.

That may be true, but it will be cold comfort for those in Downing Street who know they are running out of road – and time – to defy the polls and win an historic fifth term.

There are still some glimmers of good news for the ever-optimistic Mr Sunak to look to.

By clinging on to the Tees Valley mayoralty, he appears to have headed off a brewing mutiny from those within his party ready to hand him a whisky and a revolver.

It gives him a narrative to sell both to voters – and Conservative plotters – that he’s still in the fight.

And for all their noising off, Reform flopped in the Blackpool vote that should have been their ideal contest.

The task for Mr Sunak now is to convince disillusioned Tories flirting with Nigel Farage’s insurgents that it’s a straight-up him vs Sir Keir at the General Election.

That job will be made easier if can prove his flagship Rwanda plan works and deliver another round of tax cuts.

But the clock is ticking.


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