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London mayor win is saving grace for Tories

London: Conservative Party`s Boris Johnson was re-elected as mayor of London beating Labour`s Ken Livingstone in a close contest, even as Tories took a drubbing across Britain in the local elections.

Livingstone, 66 and a Labour veteran, announced that he would not contest an election again, and said the loss was the one he most regretted during his career spanning 41 years.

In his victory speech last night, Johnson, 47, vowed to fight for a "good deal for Londoners" from the government, adding he want to "deliver prosperity for everybody in this city".

Johnson regretted that his deputy mayor, Richard Barnes, had lost the election in the Ealing and Hillingdon constituency. In a major upset, Barnes lost to Indian-origin doctor, Onkar Singh Sahota by a margin of 3110 votes.

The result of the election to the London mayorship was preceded by big wins for the Labour party across Britain, as voters punished the ruling coalition partners, Conservative and Liberal Democrats, for job losses, deep funding cuts and double-dip recession.

Indian-origin candidate for the London mayor election, Siobhan Benita, a former civil servant who contested as an independent, was described as a "surprise package of the night", after polling over 80,000 votes. She said she would again contest the election in 2016.

Labour leader Ed Miliband saw the results as a vote in favour of his party, and told voters that the party was "back throughout the country on your side" after making big gains in the English, Welsh and Scottish elections.

Overall, Labour gained 823 councillors, while the Conservatives lost 405 and Liberal Democrats lost 336. Labour was victorious in 75 councils, a gain of 32 councils.

Voting projections at the national level indicated that Labour had a 38 per cent share, the Conservatives 31 per cent and the Liberal Democrats 16 per cent. If the pattern were translated at the national level in a general election, Labour would return to power.

The last general election was held on May 6, 2010, and the next one is scheduled for May 7, 2015, after the Fixed Term Parliament Act was passed on 15 September 2011.

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