Johnson to be Tory candidate for mayor

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Indy Politics

Boris Johnson was named Tory candidate for next year's London mayoral contest today.

The colourful MP for Henley will take on mayor Ken Livingstone after being elected by Londoners in an open primary.

The Conservative Party announced Mr Johnson, the bookies' overwhelming favourite for the Tory nomination, won 15,661 votes.

His closest rival, Victoria Borwick, won 1,869 votes, followed by Andrew Boff with 1,674 and Warwick Lightfoot with 609.

Tory leader David Cameron said: "Boris will be an excellent candidate and I know the Party will unite behind him to remove Ken Livingstone from office.

"It's about time that all Londoners had the chance to vote for real change."

Mr Johnson thanked Londoners for the chance to stand against Mr Livingstone.

He said: "As I visited all of London's 32 boroughs in the last few weeks, the message is loud and clear - King Newt's days are numbered.

"Across London I've met people fed up with paying so much to City Hall and getting so little in return.

"The job of the mayor is simple - to get people to work on time, to ensure people feel safe on the streets, to help people find a place to call home, to celebrate our diversity and to champion our success.

"My determination to lead this city is stronger than ever. After seeing both the good and bad that London has to offer, I am committed to making London greater and standing up for every Londoner that invests so heavily in our city.

"I want to be a mayor for all Londoners, from Zone 6 to Zone 1. A mayor that will listen, will learn and will lead."

The US-style open primary allowed London voters who were not members of the Conservative Party to take part by registering using an premium-rate phone line.

Conservative Party chairman Caroline Spelman said the move was "a first for British politics".

"By opening up the process and running open hustings we have given all Londoners the chance to vote on the Conservative appointment and influence the outcome," she said.

"The Conservative Party can now unite behind Boris to offer the people of London a real alternative to the misgovernment of London that we have seen for the past eight years."

During the campaign, Mr Johnson set out plans to scrap bendy buses and return the iconic Routemaster to the capital's roads if he topples Mr Livingstone in next year's election.

Ken Livingstone said: "I will run on my record of building London's public services - one and a half million more bus trips every day, a beat police team in every neighbourhood, record transport investment, winning the 2012 Olympics and London playing a leading role in tackling climate change, with a clear promise to Londoners that we will build further on these over four more years.

"Boris Johnson proposes to add a lack of managerial competence to the Thatcherite decline and division always represented by London's Tories.

"He opposed congestion charging and did a U-turn on this, supported the anti-lesbian and gay Section 28 and then abandoned this, says he is green but opposed the Kyoto treaty.

"In addition to damaging mistakes he has made policy on the hoof, proposing a totally wrong system of bus contracts for London and coming out against the requirement that 50% of new housing should be affordable. London is currently the world's most successful city and requires serious city administration not a shambles."