Smith: London could fall to Boris

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith tells newstatesman.com she fears Boris Johnson could be the next may

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Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has told newstatesman.com she believes Boris Johnson looks likely to succeed Ken Livingstone as the next mayor of London.

Counting is underway in the battle to decide who will govern the UK capital - one of the most prominent jobs in UK politics - with the result due to be announced later on Friday 2 May.

Over the phone from her Redditch constituency, where the Tories have just taken control of the local council, she said: "If the Conservatives do win in London, they will have to look serious and actually govern something and that may not be a bad thing if our experience in Redditch is anything to go by."

She said that the previous time the party had taken power in that authority they'd only lasted a year after failing to cope with the actual pressure of running something.

On the lastest win for the Tories in Redditch Smith, whose slender majority makes her one of the most vulnerable senior Labour figures come the general election, said she was "very disappointed" and the result showed the need for her to "get out and about and listen to what people are saying".

"It's obvious that people are feeling things are tough, particuarly when it comes to the economy and their standard of living. The government must show it has the strength and willingness to make people feel more secure."

She stressed that the way the UK coped with current global economic challenges would be determined by steps the government had already taken - but she insisted there would also be new policies and new ideas.

"This is what Gordon has been doing since he took over as prime minister."

Ben Davies trained as a journalist after taking most of the 1990s off. Prior to joining the New Statesman he spent five years working as a politics reporter for the BBC News website. He lives in North London.
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