Ken Livingstone Closes Gap With Boris Johnson In Mayoral Race

The race to become London Mayor remains on a knife-edge as Boris Johnsons's lead has been cut to just two points, according to poll published on Monday.

The mayor leads his Labour rival Ken Livingstone just 51% to 49% in a direct run-off according to a YouGov survey conducted for the Evening Standard. Johnson has previously enjoyed leads of around six points.

This finding comes as the coalition has been shaken by a series of controversies, with the David Cameron admitting that his government needs to "do better".

This latest poll, of 1,138 Londoners, reveals that Labour has opened up a 19% lead over the Conservatives in the capital.

In a contest between all the mayoral candidates, the poll indicates that Johnson would pick up 43%. Livingstone follows close behind with 41%, while LibDem candidate Brian Paddick has 8%.

Independent candidate Siobhan Benita polled in fourth place, equal with Ukip, on 3%, while Green candidate Jenny Jones follows on 2%.

Although Livingstone has closed the gap between him and Johnson, one in four Labour voters said the party had been wrong to pick him as their candidate, while 62 per cent said it was right.

This comes as the rivals for London Mayor clashed over a planned strike by Tube workers amid fading hopes of averting industrial action.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) who maintain and upgrade the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines will walk out at 4pm tomorrow for 72 hours in a row over pensions.

The union said the action will disrupt services across the system, but London Underground deny this, maintaining there would not be any significant impact.

Johnson said: "Londoners are under no illusion that these needless strikes have been called by Ken Livingstone's union boss supporters as part of his strategy to be re-elected."

Livingstone said: "On Tuesday millions of Londoners are set to face disruption and delays because of a strike on the Tube. This strike is completely unnecessary and could be averted if only Boris Johnson took responsibility and met the transport unions to resolve this dispute.

"Under the Tory Mayor there have been more strikes in four years than the previous eight. It shows Boris Johnson's refusal to talk to the unions has meant huge inconvenience for London Tube users and hundreds of millions of lost revenue for the capital's businesses.

"It's not too late to stop this strike happening. It's time for a mayor who will get a grip and put the interests of Londoners first."