Sadiq Khan has won the London mayoralty for Labour despite a late Tory surge in the capital.
Khan clinched a second term at City Hall after winning 45% to challenger Shaun Bailey’s 35%.
He won a total of 1,206,034 (55.2%) votes to Bailey’s 977,601 (44.8%), on a turnout of 42%.
The London mayor’s win followed more comprehensive metro mayoral victories for Andy Burnham in greater Manchester and Steve Rotheram in Liverpool. Labour also triumphed in the Welsh parliament.
Khan’s win, plus other victories for Labour in the West of England and Cambridgeshire mayoral races, provided much needed relief for Keir Starmer after heavy defeats to the Tories in the Hartlepool by-election and other parts of England.
Every opinion poll for months had given Khan a lead of 15 points. One poll put him on a massive 50%, nearly winning on first preferences, but the actual London result was much tighter.
Several Labour activists reported difficulty in motivating the party’s inner city working class vote, while the Conservatives mobilised their forces in outer London.
In the end, Khan held off the Tory surge and Labour performed even better in London Assembly seats.
Khan’s vote dipped by 4.2% on his 2016 result, while Bailey narrowly increased the Tory share from Zac Goldsmith’s performance that year.
Green party candidate Siân Berry polled 7.8%, up 2% on five years ago, while the Lib Dems’ Luisa Porritt managed 4.4%, down slightly.
Among the minority party candidates, YouTuber independent Niko Omilana (49,628 votes) came in 5th place, beating the Reclaim Party’s Laurence Fox (47,634).
Joke candidate Count Binface came in 9th place beating Jeremy Corbyn’s conspiracy theorist brother Piers, who came 11th.
In his victory speech, Khan called for unity. “The scars of Brexit remain, a crude culture war is pushing us further apart. We must use this moment of national recovery to heal those divisions.
“Coronavirus doesn’t care if you are a Brexiteer, a Remainer or woke.”
However, Starmer’s troubles in the north continued as his party lost control of Durham County Council for the first time in a century, after the Tories took 14 seats and Labour lost 21.
In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon was reinstalled as first minister as the SNP fell just short of an overall majority in the Holyrood parliament.
After her party’s fourth successive victory in the Scottish parliament elections, Sturgeon said her win was a mandate for a new independence referendum.
Boris Johnson received yet another boost when Tory Andy Street retained the West Midlands metro mayoralty with an increased share of the vote.