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Johnson pips Livingstone in capital

Boris Johnson was re-elected as Mayor of London in a surprisingly narrow victory that saw him beat rival Ken Livingstone.

The Conservative polled 1,054,811 to the Labour candidate's 992,273 following a deeply personal and bitter campaign battle that saw the two men clash furiously in public and in private.

Mr Johnson vowed to continue "fighting for a good deal for Londoners" from government as he thanked voters for giving him a "new chance".

The Mayor outperformed his party, which suffered a significant drubbing nationally, but failed to secure the massive win predicted by polls over recent days that had put him as far as 12 points ahead.

Early results in the contest also suggested the incumbent was significantly in the lead and even senior Labour figures conceded the Tory was poised to win. But later count declarations saw the gap reduce, fuelling speculation Mr Johnson's victory was not the done deal that had been tipped.

No candidate won enough votes in the first round to secure victory, meaning second preferences had to be counted.

Labour secured eight of the London Assembly's 14 first-past-the-post constituencies, gaining two from the Tories, which left them with six.

Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick was pushed into a humiliating fourth place after polling 91,774 votes, compared to the 98,913 secured by the Greens' Jenny Jones.Political newcomer, Independent Siobhan Benita, took fifth with 83,914.

Ukip's Lawrence James Webb polled 43,274 while the British National Party's Carlos Cortiglia came last with 28,751.

Counting, which is carried out electronically, was dogged by delays, pushing back the result back significantly on original predictions that it would be announced in the early evening. They included a power cut at Alexandra Palace as well as the reprocessing of two mislaid batches of ballot papers in the Brent and Harrow constituency.

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