Boris Bounce Eases the Tory Woe; Bloody Nose for His Party.But London Mayor Grabs Ken's Votes
Byline: James Chapman Political Editor
BORIS Johnson is tonight set to defy political gravity by defeating Ken Livingstone, taking the sting out of the loss of hundreds of Conservative council seats.
The London mayor appeared confident of seeing off the Labour challenge in the capital, with a final poll suggesting he had extended his lead to six points.
Significantly, it also suggested the Tory would have scooped up the support of one in every ten Labour voters.
YouGov predicted Mr Johnson would deliver a 53-47 per cent win. The final results are expected to be announced this evening. Victory for Mr Johnson will lift Tory hearts after a turbulent month for the Government which has seen its national poll ratings slump. It also puts him in pole position to succeed David Cameron as party leader.
However, last night Tory strategists warned that turnout in parts of the capital appeared alarmingly low.
They had feared that with every recent poll putting Mr Johnson ahead, some supporters had concluded the result was a foregone conclusion and were not turning out to vote.
Lynton Crosby, Mr Johnson's campaign director, said: 'The poll leads have led some to think that Boris has won, and this is not the case.'
Mr Cameron and his Liberal Democrat deputy Nick Clegg are planning a Coalition 'renewal of vows' with a joint appearance on Tuesday as the Government enters its third year. They will focus on economic policy as the glue that is holding the two parties together.
The Tories and Lib Dems will seek to pass off the loss of hundreds of councillors in local elections as traditional 'mid-term blues'.
After their joint appearance, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg will use the Queen's Speech on Wednesday to unveil new law-and-order measures, including laws on drug driving and the creation of a National Crime Agency.
Planning is also under way for a Cabinet reshuffle. Tories tipped for promotion include Housing Minister Grant Shapps, Disability Minister Maria Miller and Employment Minister Chris Grayling.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who had been tipped for the chop following controversy over NHS reforms, is now thought to be safe. …