Boris wins a second term

Mayor of London re-elected with a majority of 62,538.

In the end, it was closer, much closer, than many expected, but Boris Johnson has just won another four years in City Hall. In his valedictory address, a visibly emotional Ken Livingstone announced that he would not stand again for election, adding that this was the defeat he regretted the most because "these are the worst times for 80 years." Meanwhile, in yet another blow to the Liberal Democrats, Brian Paddick was pushed into fourth place by Green candidate Jenny Jones, a triumph for her party.

Below is the result in full. Boris's margin of victory was three per cent, a far smaller lead than predicted by the final polls (YouGov had him six points ahead, Populus 12). Yet with Labour around 15 points ahead in the London Assembly elections, the fact Boris won at all is a remarkable personal achievement.

First round

1. Boris Johnson (Conservative) 971,931 (44.01%)

2. Ken Livingstone (Labour) 889,918 (40.30%)

3. Jenny Jones (Green) 98,913 (4.48%)

4. Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat) 91,774 (4.16%)

5. Siobhan Benita (Independent) 83,914 (3.80)

6. Lawrence Webb (UKIP: Fresh Choice For London) 43,274 (1.96%)

7. Carlos Cortiglia (BNP) 28,751 (1.30%)

Second round

1. Boris Johnson 1,054,811 (51.53%)

2. Ken Livingstone 992,273 (48.47%)

Majority: 62,538 (3.06%)

Boris's re-election is an extraordinary feat. He has won again in London, a Labour city, at a time when the Conservatives are more unpopular than at any point since the general election and when the economy has double-dipped. The mayor's success owes more to his remarkable character than it does to his politics, but that won't stop Tory MPs urging David Cameron to emulate Boris's brand of unashamed conservatism. After all, Johnson has now won two elections. Cameron is yet to win one. The mayor has gained the largest personal mandate of any politician in Europe, bar the French president. That gives him considerable clout in the Conservative Party. Should he wish to return to the Commons in 2015, Tory MPs will happily make way for him. Although Boris has promised to serve a full-term, there is no constitutional obstacle to him combining the roles of MP and mayor. Indeed, there is a precedent. After the 2000 mayoral election, Ken Livingstone remained the MP for Brent East until 2001.

For Ed Miliband, Ken's defeat is a significant disappointment, the only stain on Labour's near-perfect night. But the scale of the party's gains elsewhere means that Boris's victory is much less of a problem for him than previously imagined. All observers are agreed that this was a defeat for Ken, who ran a calamitous campaign, not a defeat for Labour.

Boris Johnson speaks after the announcement of his victory in the London Mayoral elections as Ken Livingstone looks on. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

There's just one future for the left: Jeremy Corbyn

Labour's new leader is redefining Labour for the 21st century, argues Liam Young. 

The politics of the resurgent left comes down to one simple maxim: people are sick and tired of establishment politics. When one makes this statement it is usually met with some form of disapproval. But it is important to realise that there are two different types of people that you have this conversation with.

First there are the people I surround myself with in a professional environment: political types. Then there are the people I surround myself with socially: normal people.

Unsurprisingly the second category is larger than the first and it is also more important. We may sit on high horses on Twitter or Facebook and across a multitude of different media outlets saying what we think and how important what we think is, but in reality few outside of the bubble could care less.

People who support Jeremy Corbyn share articles that support Jeremy Corbyn - such as my own. People who want to discredit Jeremy Corbyn share articles that discredit Jeremy Corbyn - like none of my own. It is entirely unsurprising right? But outside of this bubble rests the future of the left. Normal people who talk about politics for perhaps five minutes a day are the people we need to be talking to, and I genuinely believe that Labour is starting to do just that.

People know that our economy is rigged and it is not just the "croissant eating London cosmopolitans" who know this. It is the self-employed tradesman who has zero protection should he have to take time off work if he becomes ill. It is the small business owner who sees multi-national corporations get away with paying a tiny fraction of the tax he or she has to pay. And yes, it is the single mother on benefits who is lambasted in the street without any consideration for the reasons she is in the position she is in. And it is the refugee being forced to work for less than the minimum wage by an exploitative employer who keeps them in line with the fear of deportation. 

The odds are stacked against all normal people, whether on a zero hours contract or working sixty hours a week. Labour has to make the argument from the left that is inclusive of all. It certainly isn’t an easy task. But we start by acknowledging the fact that most people do not want to talk left or right – most people do not even know what this actually means. Real people want to talk about values and principles: they want to see a vision for the future that works for them and their family. People do not want to talk about the politics that we have established today. They do not want personality politics, sharp suits or revelations on the front of newspapers. This may excite the bubble but people with busy lives outside of politics are thoroughly turned off by it. They want solid policy recommendations that they believe will make their lives better.

People have had enough of the same old, of the system working against them and then being told that it is within their interest to simply go along with it.  It is our human nature to seek to improve, to develop. At the last election Labour failed to offer a vision of future to the electorate and there was no blueprint that helped people to understand what they could achieve under a Labour government. In the states, Bernie Sanders is right to say that we need a political revolution. Here at home we've certainly had a small one of our own, embodying the disenchantment with our established political discourse. The same-old will win us nothing and that is why I am firmly behind Jeremy Corbyn’s vision of a new politics – the future of the left rests within it. 

Liam Young is a commentator for the IndependentNew Statesman, Mirror and others.