BBC News, May 6, 2016
Sadiq Khan looks set to become the new Mayor of London–boosting Labour after it slumped in Scotland’s elections.
Mr Khan, who would be the city’s first Muslim mayor, is on course for victory over Conservative Zac Goldsmith.
The result would bolster leader Jeremy Corbyn after Labour were beaten into third in Scotland by the Tories and lost English councillors.
In Scotland, the SNP said it would form a minority government after winning its third election in a row.
Mr Khan’s expected victory would end eight years of Conservative control of City Hall. The former Labour MP and minister, 45, would become London’s third mayor after Mr Johnson and Ken Livingstone.
Although the result has yet to be declared he got 44.2% of first preference votes to Mr Goldsmith’s 35.6%–second preference votes are now being counted with Mr Khan set to pass the crucial 50% mark when they are added in.
The result had been due to be announced early evening on Friday but has now been delayed, with organisers London Elects saying they are “working towards a declaration at midnight”.
His victory follows a controversial campaign in which the Conservatives were accused of trying to smear Mr Khan by accusing him of sharing a platform with extremists–tactics defended by ministers but questioned by some in the party.
Mr Goldsmith’s sister Jemima has criticised how his campaign was run, while former Conservative Cabinet minister Baroness Warsi called it an “appalling dog whistle campaign”.
Ms Goldsmith tweeted: “Sad that Zac’s campaign did not reflect who I know him to be–an eco friendly, independent-minded politician with integrity.”
She also congratulated Mr Khan, calling him a “great example to young Muslims”.
In Wales, Labour’s vote is down by eight points overall, the Conservative vote is down by three points, while Plaid Cymru is up by two points.
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood celebrated a famous victory after she took the seat of Rhondda from Labour in its south Wales heartlands. The Lib Dem Welsh leader Kirsty Williams resigned after her party was reduced to one seat in the Welsh Assembly.
But the biggest story of the night in Wales was the performance of UKIP, which saw its vote increase by 12 points and saw seven candidates elected. The party’s leader Nigel Farage hailed it as a significant breakthrough.
Thursday’s polls were the single largest test of political opinion before the next general election, which is scheduled for 2020, with 43 million people entitled to take part.
In total, 2,747 seats in English councils–spanning metropolitan boroughs, unitary authorities and district councils–were up for grabs.
David Cameron said the party’s second place in Scotland and its showing in England, where it took control of Peterborough Council and won council seats in key Westminster marginals such as Dudley and Nuneaton, represented a good result for a party in government for six years.
“Local election day for sitting prime ministers is supposed to be a day of dread, waiting for the knock on the door like a condemned man waiting for a hangman,” he said. “But that’s wasn’t what it was like last night.”