Labour closes in on London mayoral victory for Sadiq Khan

Labour closes in on London mayoral victory for Sadiq Khan

Labour was closing in on a London mayoral victory for Sadiq Khan on Saturday, as Sir Keir Starmer claimed the Conservatives do not deserve power “for a moment longer”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is meanwhile braced for the West Midlands mayoral election result, hoping incumbent Andy Street could hold on to power for the Conservatives.

With just five of 14 constituencies declared, London’s Labour incumbent Mr Khan was leading with over 427,000 votes, with the Conservatives’ Susan Hall on just over 234,000.

The total turnout in the election is 2,495,621, with fewer than half of the results yet to be declared.

Mr Khan needs to win a simple majority of ballots cast, as the rules for the mayoral race were changed to a first-past-the-post voting system ahead of the latest election.

Labour leader Sir Keir gave his backing to Mr Khan, telling reporters: “He has got two terms of delivery behind him and I am confident that he has got another term of delivery in front of him.”

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During a visit to Mansfield, he also issued a fresh challenge to the Prime Minister, saying: “Fourteen years and, I am sorry, I don’t care which political party you support, if you leave your country in a worse state than when you found it 14 years later, you do not deserve to be in Government for a moment longer.”

As Friday’s result declarations closed, the Conservatives had suffered a drubbing in the polls, with a net loss of 371 seats, and lost control of 10 councils.

But Mr Sunak took solace in the Conservative victory in the Tees Valley mayoral contest, which was retained by Lord Houchen.

The Prime Minister appears to have quelled a Tory revolt by holding onto the flagship mayoral seat, but further losses could provide fodder to his rebellious backbenchers.

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Overall, Labour won control of eight councils with a net gain of 204 seats, and won three inaugural mayoral races in the East Midlands, the North East and York and North Yorkshire, a region which includes Mr Sunak’s Richmond constituency.

As results declarations came in on Saturday, Labour held on to mayoralties in Liverpool, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester where Andy Burnham was re-elected.

In a defiant message closing out the first day of results, Mr Sunak suggested there was still hope for his party despite suffering bruising defeats in the final test of voters before a general election.

“We Conservatives have everything to fight for – and we will because we are fighting for our values and our country’s future,” he wrote in the Telegraph.

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Mr Sunak pointed to his party’s recent commitment to hike defence spending, and measures to grasp migration as clear dividing lines with Labour.

Sir Keir meanwhile urged voters to “turn the page on decline”, as he drew attention to Labour’s election offer to “pick up the NHS”, make sure the streets are safe, build affordable homes, and provide secure jobs.

The party took a Tory scalp by winning the Blackpool South by-election, but lost seats to independents and George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain in a smattering of councils, apparently over its stance on Gaza.

In Friday’s results the Liberal Democrats gained 92 seats and the Greens 58.

The Liberal Democrats’ most significant victory was winning control of Dorset council from the Conservatives, where it now has 42 of the 82 seats after gaining 15.

The Greens fell narrowly short of taking overall control of Bristol, one of their top targets, despite gaining 10 seats.