Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boris Stays Ahead in the Race for City Hall

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boris Stays Ahead in the Race for City Hall

Article excerpt

Byline: PIPPA CRERAR

BORIS JOHNSON has maintained a significant lead over Ken Livingstone inthe race to be mayor, an Evening Standard poll reveals today.

The latest survey puts the Tory candidate 10 points ahead, suggesting manyLondoners continue to feel it is time for change.

It comes as David Cameron weighed into the mayoral battle today with strongsupport for his party's candidate. The Tory leader was joining a Johnsoncampaign rally for the first time as the battle for City Hall entered its finalstages.

"I was delighted when Boris decided to run for Mayor because I knew he'd do abrilliant job, not just as a candidate but as exactly the kind of leader thatLondon needs," Mr Cameron told the Standard. "He's a proper Conservativepractical, open-minded and keen to get things done." The Tory leader insistedMr Johnson has a "properly thought through" plan for the city despite Labourclaims.

Gordon Brown publicly endorsed Ken Livingstone 10 days ago but there have beenreports the Prime Minister does not have high expectations of winning.

However, Mr Johnson's lead has narrowed slightly, a sign that Mr Livingstone'srelentless focus on the Tory's competence is beginning to have an impact.

The YouGov poll for the Standard has Mr Johnson two points down from afortnight ago on 47 per cent, the Mayor remaining static on 37 per cent,Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick on 10 per cent and Green Sian Berry on two percent.

After allocating second preference votes, the Tory candidate leads the Mayor on56 per cent to 44 per cent. Mr Livingstone appeared to have been damaged byallegations of cronyism and corruption at City Hall but in the last two weekshas launched a fightback.

He has regained some momentum by unveiling his plans for the environment andhousing in the capital.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has been pursuing his "below-the-radar" campaign in outerLondon where he stands his best chance of maximising the Tory vote.

The result comes ahead of an Evening Standard debate tonight where the maincandidates will come face to face on the key issues of the campaign.

YouGov questioned a representative sample of 1,051 Londoners online between 20and 25 March. …

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