By RICHARD OSLEY at CITY HALL
May 5 2012: 1am
BORIS Johnson was handed another term as London Mayor this morning but Labour scored major consolation prizes after unseating Brian Coleman in Barnet and Camden and getting former Camden council candidate Tom Copley elected to the London Assembly.
After delays to the counting of votes - largely due to a power cut at Alexandra Palace where three constituencies were being totted up - Mr Johnson eventually pipped Ken Livingstone after second preference votes had been taken into account. Mr Livingstone, in defeat, immediately confirmed he would not stand for political office again, drawing a line under a career that featured time on Camden's council benches.
Mr Johnson - a searing 1-20 favourite with the bookies - had been expected to take the city with much greater ease and Labour members insisted the narrowness of his victory meant he had no mandate to introduce measures such as rising tube fares.
"I will dedicate myself to making sure that Londoners and above all, young Londoners, are ready to take the jobs that this amazing city creates," he said.
But while Labour members watched and wondered at what could have been - and the debate rumbles on about whether a different candidate could have fared better - there were celebrations at Alexandra Palace earlier in the day. First, the party won the Camden Town with Primrose Hill by-election throuh Lazzaro Pietragnoli. No surprises there - but a bigger win came at around 7.30pm when it was confirmed that Andrew Dismore had unseated Brian Coleman from the Barnet and Camden London Assembly seat. Mr Coleman has held the role since the Assembly was created 12 years ago, but has a controversial reputation in Barnet where much of the campaign was played out. Rows over parking and complaints about Mr Coleman's say-what-he-thinks style had taken their toll. It was claimed he had irritated a few too many Barnet residents.
Mr Dismore, a former MP in Hendon, insisted his victory was not an anti-Coleman protest and, aside from saying in his victory speech that Mr Coleman would have to go away and 'lick his wounds' from a 20,000 vote defeat, resisted attacking the beaten Tory. He said: "This is a vote for Labour. It is also a vote of confidence in what Camden Council is doing." Mr Coleman made no speech, leaving the Palace as Mr Dismore was speaking.
The breakdown of Barnet and Camden results showed that when voters were asked simply to vote for a preferred political party for top-up assembly members, Labour netted 63,688 votes to the 60,866 for the Conservatives. But, crucially, when asked to pick for a named candidate to win the specific seat for Barnet and Camden, the gap widened. Mr Dismore won 74,677 votes to Mr Coleman's 53,378.
More good news for Camden's Labour group came early this morning when Tom Copley, who came close to winning in Haverstock council elections in 2010, took a further place on the London Assembly through the top-up system. Mr Copley and Mr Dismore had been the two Labour options to take on Mr Coleman. Mr Dismore was chosen as the candidate but both will now take seats at City Hall.
Barnet and Camden constituency vote
Andrew Dismore LABOUR 74,677 ELECTED
Brian Coleman CONSERVATIVE 53,378
AM Poppy GREEN 17,904
Chris Richards LIBERAL DEMOCRATS 13,800
Michael Corby UKIP 7,331
2671 rejected ballots
Turnout: 38 percent
Boris Johnson CONSERVATIVE 1,054,811 after second preferences ELECTED
Ken Livingstone LABOUR 992,273 after second preferences
Jenny Jones GREEN 98,913
Brian Paddick LIBERAL DEMOCRATS 91,774
Siobhan Benita INDEPENDENT 83,914
Lawrence Webb UKIP 43,374
Carlos Cortiglia BNP 28,751
Turnout: 38 percent