6 May 2012

London ready for Olympics, says re-elected mayor

4:50 am on 6 May 2012

London Mayor Boris Johnson has been returned to office after a tightly fought election, in which he beat Labour rival Ken Livingstone by 3%, after a far closer contest than expected.

At the end of vote counting, Mr Johnson says his priorities for his next term as mayor are to cut taxes while investing more in transport, policing and housing.

He also says that London was ready and waiting to welcome visitors for the Olympic Games in 84 days time.

"The world will see a city that is going through a neo-Victorian surge of investment in public transport, where the murder rate is down 25%, and where the Olympic and Paralympic venues have been completed on-time and under budget," he says.

Mr Johnson's win was one of very few Conservative Party triumphs in British local and regional elections that saw sweeping gains for the opposition Labour Party.

He won on second preference votes after failing to gain more than 50% in the first round. He bucked a national trend after heavy Tory losses elsewhere.

Turnout was 38.1%, down 6.7% on the last election in 2008, when Mr Johnson, 47, beat Mr Livingstone, who had been mayor for eight years.

The BBC reports Labour gained two seats on the London Assembly, with the Conservatives losing two.

Afterwards, Mr Livingstone announced it was his last election campaign.

In his victory address, Mr Johnson, 47, paid tribute to Mr Livingstone, local party members and his family.

"I'll continue to fight for a good deal for Londoners, a good deal from the government that will help us deliver prosperity in this city," he said.