POLITICS

London Elections - Boris Tipped To Win, Tactical Voting Predicted

03/05/2012 21:44 | Updated 03 May 2012

Polls have closed in the London Mayoral and Assembly election and while there is no formal exit poll, Boris Johnson is widely expected to have retained City Hall.

But we're making no such predictions - it's been a strange day at the polls - many suspect there's been a low turnout, and The Huffington Post UK has heard widespread reports of tactical voting.

Voters backing a candidate they don't expect to win on first preference comes forth in several flavours, and with a strong health warning - it's only anecdotal.

However if it turns out to be widespread it could lead to strong showings for UKIP and the Green party, and perhaps exceptionally so for the independent candidate Siobhan Benita.

Although she's never claimed to be, Benita appears to have become something of a conduit for Labour supporters who've signed up to the "Not Ken Again" mantra. She can be expected to do well if lots of disillusioned Labour voters decide to send a message to the party - that they allowed the wrong candidate to stand and made a mess of the selection process.

Many think Ken was picked to stand too soon - the contest happened in autumn 2010 at the same time as Ed Miliband's leadership election. Not enough time was given, some say, for the party to regroup and work out what it wanted to stand for in this election. The result was that Ken's formidable internal party machine steamrollered over any other contenders.

One die-hard Labour supporter - who happily voted for Labour candidates in the assembly elections - told The Huffington Post UK they'd voted for Benita first but made no second preference.

They said they really hoped would Ken do badly. Similar anecdotes have been heard elsewhere and gleefully tweeted by Tories.

See also:

On the Tory side, there seems to have been a few people who decided to vote UKIP or for the Greens first, with Boris their second preference.

This seemingly has nothing to do with Boris and everything to do with attempting to push Brian Paddick and the Lib Dems into fourth place. Or even fifth.

Again these are either Tory party workers or loyal supporters - but as The Huffington Post UK has heard this sort of tactical voting among Tories from several unconnected sources, it's not beyond the realms of conspiracy theory to suggest some kind of orchestrated campaign took place here. "It's all about making the Lib Dems look stupid," one Westminster based staffer told The Huffington Post UK earlier.

Will any of this affect the final result? That's impossible to say, and we're in for a long wait before we know the answer. Counting of votes in London won't begin until 8:45am on Friday, and it'll take most of the day to get a sense of what's going on. Most expect second preference votes to tip the election one way or the other.

In the meantime here's the liveblog of the day so far - check back to The Huffington Post UK all day tomorrow for rolling coverage as the results come in - we'll be at City Hall near Tower Bridge with the latest all day.

Elections

05/05/2012 00:34 BST

41-hours after polls opened Boris is mayor and we can all go to bed

So over 41 hours after polls opened on Thursday morning, Boris Johnson is mayor of London and we can all go to bed to dream analytical dreams about what the results mean for the country.

04/05/2012 22:45 BST

London Elects: 'Several Hundred' votes to be manually checked

Probable ETA of a declaration is about an hour, hopefully less (please)

04/05/2012 22:44 BST

Statement on the count delays from London Elects...

London Elects statement:

We have results in from 13 of the 14 constituencies in the Mayor of London and London Assembly election.

The final constituency is Brent & Harrow. The Greater London Returning Officer has been in touch with the CRO for Brent & Harrow to establish the reason for a delay.

All batches of ballot papers were registered and scanned. Two batches went to storage without some ballot papers being manually entered as required. Manual entry is required when a scanner cannot read a ballot paper – for example if a ballot paper is damaged. It is not an issue with the scanners.

The issue was identified during the verification stage. These two batches are being re-processed. To make this happen as quickly as possible we have separated out into several smaller batches. This is why the progress screens appear to show a changing number of verified ballot papers.

We will declare as soon as possible but it is obviously important that every vote is counted.

04/05/2012 22:29 BST

What's happening at City Hall?

Well we don't entirely know. The latest is that at least two ballot boxes were found unscanned at the Brent count, and they're now being counted by hand, for some reason.

There are rumours that Ken's team has asked for a full recount in Brent, which would delay things for another few hours.

London elects thinks it'll be only another 20 mins, but they've been saying that for nearly two hours.

04/05/2012 19:44 BST

YouGov are calling it for Boris..

@ tnewtondunn :

The Sun's pollster Peter Kellner of YouGov calls it - "Boris has won. He has too big a lead for Ken to overturn".

04/05/2012 18:24 BST

Ken-supporting constituencies now coming in...

It's leading to a sharp narrowing in the polls between the two candidates. On 1st preference votes Boris now has 44% and Ken 40% - 8 out of 14 constituencies have now declared.

04/05/2012 17:07 BST

London Mayoral Vote Getting Tight...

Here's the latest.

london shocker

People are talking about 50/50 odds between Ken and Boris. The atmosphere at City Hall has changed dramatically in the past half hour.

04/05/2012 16:40 BST

Ed Miliband: We're coming back

Ed Miliband, speaking in Southampton, has declared that Labour is "coming back".

This comes after Labour took control of Southampton from the Conservatives.

He railed against the "out of touch government in Westminster".

"David Cameron promised change, not for the better but for the worse. Today in Southampton, it is a rejection of the economic failure of this government, and the unfairness of this government". he added

He also boasted that Labour is "beating back" the SNP in Scotland.

He recognised the low turnouts, saying it showed there was "still more to do".

04/05/2012 16:35 BST

Peter Bone MP - 'This is the beginning of the end of the coalition'

Conservative MP Peter Bone has said that the PM has 'one hand tied behind his back'.

"Worst of all, we've got the Liberals holding us back" he added

The results signified the "beginning of the end of the coalition", he told the BBC.

"We're seeing Boris winning as a Conservative in London, yet the Coalition losing against Labour. So the message must be let's come out of this coalition as soon as possible." he said

04/05/2012 16:25 BST

Liam Byrne optimistic despite Birmingham no vote

Liam Byrne, who quit the Shadow Cabinet in preparation for running for Birmingham Mayor, has just tweeted this

@ LiamByrneMP :

A huge thanks to ALL who supported Yes2Mayor, Albert and me: our job now is to get 4-square behind our brilliant new Lbr council #brummayor

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