With just under a month to go until the 3rd of May, the campaign to become the next Mayor of London is hotting up.
Boris Johnson seeking re-election for a second term, and Ken Livingstone his main challenger. The Labour candidate, who was the inaugural London Mayor in 2000 and who held the post for eight years, is seeking to prove to Londoners
that he deserves his old job back.
Last week saw the debate shrink down to one issue - the tax affairs of the main candidates. After the debate on London's LBC, things turned nasty in the lift, with Boris accusing Ken of "F****g lies" after his Labour rival accused him of paying himself through a TV company - something the disclosure of his tax records later in the week suggested he hadn't done, at least not since 2008.
The latest poll shows Boris five points ahead, with evidence that Livingstone's tax efficiency measures (paying lots of his salary into a holding company which appears to do nothing) and his highly controversial comments about Jews have const him support.
But despite Boris' lead some Tory strategists believe the end result will be a lot closer than expected, particularly if the Conservative Party continues to suffer a drubbing in the national press and opinion polls, as they have done in recent weeks since an unpopular Budget and rows about cash-for-access to Number 10 Downing Street.
We'll be covering the build-up to the election on our live-blog below, plus you can read every story related to the contest on our Big Mayoral Election News Page here.
23/04/2012 15:26 BST
Boris receives support from Dave...
@ GuidoFawkes :
Dave bigs up Boris a lot in his speech about mayors. Says Boris has been dogged in pestering him on behalf of London.
23/04/2012 15:25 BST
Could Boris lose his job next week?
@ MikeSmithsonOGH :
Could Boris be out of a job next week? His YouGov lead down to just 2% http://t.co/wcKCeIpL
23/04/2012 15:24 BST
Evening Standard owner has warm words about Boris Johnson...
@ PSbook :
Evening Standard owner tells #Leveson that Boris Johnson is a "personal friend". Quelle suprise! (via @paulwaugh)
23/04/2012 15:24 BST
Ken's 'tax-gate', do voters care?
@ JohnRentoul :
Boris v Ken on tax: voters know less and care less than is often assumed http://t.co/mMUES7nm
23/04/2012 15:23 BST
Ken closes gap with Boris...
The race for London Mayor remains tight as Ken closes the gap between him and his Tory rival.
According to the latest poll by YouGov, Boris leads Ken by just 2 points - well within the margin of error.
This comes as, according to the same poll, Labour's lead over the Conservatives increases to 19%.
19/04/2012 15:09 BST
@Lord_Sugar tells Ken - You're Fired!
Lord Sugar has intervened in the London Mayoral election race, telling Londoners not to vote for the Labour candidate Ken Livingstone.
Labour Peer Lord Sugar tweeted this afternoon
"I don’t care if Ed Miliband is backing Livingstone. I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingstone in the Mayoral elections"
"Sky doing live Mayoral interview with candidates at 8pm today Johnston v Livingstone is real issue. Livingstone must NOT get in on 3rd May," he tweeted to his 1.9 million followers.
17/04/2012 11:13 BST
Lab MP Austin Mitchell attacks Livingstone for "tired self-justification, tax fiddlers and racism"
Veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell has criticised Ken Livingstone's Mayoral campaign as having "no life, no fun [and] no drive".
In a tweet this morning, he lamented that the campaign had been swept up by "tired self-justification".
He said his comments were meant, when talking to HuffPost UK, adding that the campaign was "tired out".
17/04/2012 10:55 BST
Boris inspired by... a chocolate biscuit?
Boris has revealed his great appreciation for the chocolate digestive.
In a webchat with Mumsnet users, the Mayor revealed that not only was it his favourite biscuit, it also represented his political philosophy.
"The important point about a chocolate digestive is that it combines the temptation of the chocolate with the nourishment of the wholemeal biscuit pabulum stuff" he said.
"Each biscuit delivers on that promise, time after time, until you get to the bottom of the packet. It is about consistency and reliability. It does what it says on the packet. That is the essence of my commitment to London" he added.
17/04/2012 10:52 BST
People are fed up with macho politics, says @Siobhan4Mayor
Independent Mayoral Candidate Siobhan Benita has attacked the "dysfunctional" standard of government.
Speaking to HuffPost UK, she criticised the nature of party politics.
“It’s all about how do you get a headline, how many policy announcements can you make in any one week, before they’re probably thought through, before the risks are properly understood. So actually a lot of the time what ministers are putting out to the public is never going to work. And the public haven’t been brought in to shape that.”
She said that she stood for Mayor as she wanted to provide something "different".
17/04/2012 10:41 BST
Boris seen as "Mayor for the Rich"
According to a new poll, Boris is seen as "Mayor for the Rich".
However this has apparently not damaged his chances of winning re-election as he has maintained his lead in the race for City Hall.
This finding, from the latest YouGov survey conducted for the Evening Standard, found that 37% of Londoners felt the Conservative Mayor fought for the wealthy more than any other group.
Only two per cent of people polled said Johnson would focus on the poor, compared with 21 percent for Ken Livingstone.
The poll showed Johnson has surged ahead of Livingstone to a popularity rating of 53%, while Livingstone is on 47%.