Boris Johnson passes the winning post – but it was no easy ride to victory

Johnson seals second term as Mayor by narrow margin amid chaos counting the votes

Boris Johnson clinched a narrow victory last night as the battle to become London Mayor reached a dramatic and chaotic finale. The Conservative incumbent saw off Ken Livingstone's bid to return to City Hall with a slim majority, beating his Labour challenger by 51.53 per cent to 48.47 per cent.

Mr Johnson just made it across the finishing-line once second-preference votes were redistributed. But the count was mired in controversy after it was delayed for hours by the discovery of two boxes of uncounted ballots from Harrow and Brent in north-west London.

When the results were finally declared at 11.55pm, the Green candidate Jenny Jones secured a personal triumph by finishing third, followed by the Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick and the independent Siobhan Benita.

The last-minute drama followed an acrimonious campaign in which the two front-runners – reprising their contest of 2008 – swapped insults.

Mr Johnson's team had focused on his challenger's controversial tax arrangements, while Labour responded by branding the current Mayor a joker who had distanced himself from his party.

Polls on the eve of the election gave Mr Johnson a six-point lead. But as the votes were tallied yesterday, it became clear the gap between the long-standing foes was much narrower than expected.

An agonising wait ensued for the Tory and Labour teams as the uncounted ballots were discovered, problems emerged with the electronic counting machines and a counting centre suffered a power cut.

Labour sources, who had previously conceded defeat, suggested supporters who disliked Mr Livingstone had not been able to bring themselves to back his Tory rival when the reached the voting booth.

Mr Johnson plans to kick off a second term with a reshuffle of his senior team and by ordering hundreds of new Routemaster buses for the capital.

His re-election in Labour-leaning London would have a wider significance in Conservative politics as it would establish him as the obvious successor to David Cameron.

The Independent disclosed yesterday that the Mayor's allies expect him to stand for Parliament at the next general election, which is due in 2015.

Under this scenario, he would combine the roles of Mayor and MP for one year before returning full-time to national politics.

For Mr Livingstone, his defeat marks the end of political career dating back to the 1960s. He protested yesterday that the campaign had been "dominated by smears and trivialities".

Results: Electorate 5,804,790, turnout 2,208,475 (38.05%, -5.81%)

First Count

Boris Johnson (C) 971,931 (44.01%, +0.81%)

Ken Livingstone (Lab) 889,918 (40.30%, +3.30%)

Jenny Jones (Green) 98,913 (4.48%, +1.28%)

Brian Paddick (LD) 91,774 (4.16%, -5.64%)

Siobhan Benita (Ind) 83,914 (3.80%, +3.58%)

Lawrence Webb (UKIP) 43,274 (1.96%, +1.03%)

Carlos Cortiglia (BNP) 28,751 (1.30%, -1.58%)

Eliminated: Siobhan Benita, Carlos Cortiglia, Jenny Jones, Brian Paddick, Lawrence Webb

Second Count

Distribution of Benita's, Cortiglia's, Jones's, Paddick's and Webb's votes:

Boris Johnson (C) 1,054,811

Ken Livingstone (Lab) 992,273

Elected: Boris Johnson

Huge Labour gains leave Coalition with identity crisis
Boris Johnson passes the winning post – but it was no easy ride to victory
'Red Ken' finally reaches the end of the line
Clegg punished with his party's worst-ever results
MPs turn fire on Cameron after dismal showing
Labour takes power across the country – and Miliband tightens grip on his party
Leading article: A good result, but Labour must beware a false dawn
Steve Richards: Labour (and Ed Miliband) are no longer doomed
Andrew Grice: Bruised and battered, Clegg will struggle to sell Coalition relaunch
Professor John Curtice: Labour's making progress, but it's still some way from No 10
Chris Bryant: The naked and the dead – just a couple of the things you meet while canvassing
Galloway's Respect wins in Bradford again
'Chipping Norton set' desert the Tories
Cities reject Cameron's dream of mayors for all
Salmond setback as Scots nationalists fail in Glasgow

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project