London mayoralty contest may be tighter than polls suggest

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Good morning. This is the last instalment of our three-part guide to the timeline of local election results, what to look out for and what ought to happen if the polls are about right. We end by looking at the results declared on Saturday and Sunday.

Inside Politics is edited by Georgina Quach. Read the previous edition of the newsletter here. Please send gossip, thoughts and feedback to

GLA-d that’s over


The London mayoralty declares in a fun and, for the UK, an unusual way: instead of announcing all the results at once, the results will be counted and announced from London’s 14 Greater London Assembly constituencies. At sometime around 1pm it should become clear who is going to win, but it could be earlier if some of the more dramatic opinion poll leads for Sadiq Khan are correct. PA’s estimate for when we’ll have a good sense of the likely victor is 1.30pm, but it will be from about 11am that people will be able to start freaking out and over-analysing early results.

(My assumption is that it will be closer than most of the polls suggest: Khan’s personal rating is not good. While the Conservative candidate Susan Hall is, to put it mildly, a flawed challenger, she has had little exposure in this campaign and will I think manage to get the generic Conservative vote out on an anti-Khan, anti-Ulez message. As such I expect we’ll be waiting until the mid-afternoon when we can say one way or another how this contest has gone.)

Conservative mayoral candidate for London Susan Hall sitting with a member of the public with a baby on a park bench as part of a promotion photo
Conservative mayoral candidate for London Susan Hall has ditched the Tory blue colour palette in her campaign branding

12 noon

Labour’s Steve Rotheram will be re-elected as mayor of Liverpool City Region.


Conservative Jonathan Ash-Edwards should be elected as police and crime commissioner for Hertfordshire.


It should be clear who is going to win the London mayoralty pretty much regardless by now.


Matthew Barber will be re-elected as police and crime commissioner in Thames Valley, while Oliver Coppard will be re-elected as Labour mayor of South Yorkshire.


More foregone conclusions: the Conservatives should hold on to the Warwickshire police and crime commissioner, while Labour ought to do the same in the West Midlands.


A lot happening this hour: the contest that Rishi Sunak wants to use to mark his homework today is in the West Midlands, where Andy Street, the Conservative incumbent mayor and former managing director of John Lewis, is seeking re-election.

Street won last time by getting about 60,000 people who voted Labour in elections to their local council and to the West Midlands police and crime commissioner post to vote for him in the mayoral race. In addition, he did about seven points better than the Conservative party nationally.

Given the polls he will probably need to persuade many more voters to split their ballots between him and Labour. It is too close to call:

Bar chart of Mayoral election voting intention in YouGov poll, weighted by likelihood to vote showing Tight fight in West Midlands

Labour ought to take the Cheshire PCC from the Conservatives.

There’s an intriguing contest for the same role in Dorset. The Conservative candidate’s hopes are under threat from an independent candidate Marianne Storey, the former head of the charity Dorset Mind, who has been endorsed by Martyn Underhill, a former DCI who was elected twice as an independent PCC in 2012 and 2016.

It’s not clear when the results of elections to the London Assembly will be announced but it will be sometime in the afternoon. This is England’s only remaining election not using first past the post because it is the only place in England where a proportional election system benefits the Conservatives: as a result, Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens are all guaranteed representation on the Assembly and we may well see Reform getting elected too.

Norwich is another local authority where discontent at Labour’s position on the Israel-Hamas war could see Green or Liberal Democrat gains at Labour’s expense.


Many foregone conclusions over the next few hours. Labour’s Tracy Brabin to be re-elected as West Yorkshire mayor, while Emily Spurrell should do the same for the party in the Merseyside PCC contest 15 minutes later. Then at 4pm, Andy Burnham ought to win a third term as mayor of Greater Manchester, while Labour ought to hold on to Warrington and North Tyneside, both of which have new boundaries. Conservative Philip Wilkinson will retain the Wiltshire police and crime commissioner role.

Worth watching at 4pm is Stroud, where the Greens are currently running the council in coalition with the Liberal Democrats and 11 former Labour councillors now sitting as independents, with nine having quit Labour in 2022. Two councillors left Labour last year, one of whom resigned in response to Keir Starmer’s position on the Israel-Hamas war.


Just three elections set to declare on Sunday, and fortunately for our purposes they are not nail-biters. Conservative candidates will be re-elected as PCCs in Kent and Sussex at 3pm and 3.30pm respectively. Labour will stay in control of Salford city council at 4pm. For my part, I will be spending the day guiltily hoping than Arsenal Women roll over against Manchester City Women to prevent Emma Hayes winning anything in her final season at Chelsea.

Now try this

Having finished all the Mick Herron spy novels (even the novellas: I have decided that the real villain of his books is John Batchelor) I decided I wanted a complete change of pace and am reading Curtis Sittenfeld’s Romantic Comedy, a delightful — you guessed it — romantic comedy. I am about two-thirds of the way through and I will miss it bitterly when I’ve finished it. Emma Jacobs’ review of it is here.

Top stories today

Below is the Financial Times’ live-updating UK poll-of-polls, which combines voting intention surveys published by major British pollsters. Visit the FT poll-tracker page to discover our methodology and explore polling data by demographic including age, gender, region and more.

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