Shaun Bailey shocks Sadiq Khan in London mayor race

In the media Westminster

Shaun Bailey mayor has upset the polls to take an overnight lead in the race to be London mayor over Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan.

The Conservative candidate was trailing by up to 20 points in pre-election polls but tonight (Friday) has a shock lead of more than 5,000 votes.

Bailey’s showing in the capital caps a remarkable day for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives who recorded an historic byelection victory in Hartlepool – which for the first time in 57 years will be represented by a Conservative MP – and picked up council seats around England.

Super Thursday turned into a nightmare for Labour which could get even worse for Sir Keir Starmer with the full results of the multitude of elections – to Holyrood, the Senned, and around England where (up to Friday night) 79 out of 143 councils, representing around 5,000 seats had declared. The full results for the Crime and Police Commissioners elections and other mayoral races are expected on Saturday.

‘Shaun Bailey’s campaign now believe they can win’

Patrick Maguire, Red Box editor at the Times tweeted his consternation at the prospect the Tories could replicate their success in Hartlepool and around England by taking London as well:

“I can’t believe I’m writing this. But Tory sources say Shaun Bailey’s campaign now believe they can win the London mayoralty”, wrote Maguire.

He links to right wing political commentator Guido Fawkes who tweeted: “Senior Shaun Bailey source tells Guido off the back of this, “it’s closer than everyone thinks. Still a long way to go though, but Shaun will have beaten the polls by a fair whack’[.]

“’He’s polling above the party’”.

Maguire’s colleague at the Times, journalist Eleni Courea tweeted a London Labour source saying: “We think it will be close. There is no chance of winning on the first round”

“We are definitely seeing the product of lower turnout and complacency from voters who believed it was safe to put a candidate from a smaller party as first preference”

The race for mayor is expected to be called tomorrow evening after first and second preference votes are cast. Bailey’s shock overnight lead will be a source of much discomfort to Labour supporters although Khan is still expected to win.

‘Labour’s worst result since the Second World War’

Bailey’s challenge will pile more pressure on Starmer who has presided over an even worse set of results than the December 2019 general election – described in the Telgraph as “Labour’s worst result since the Second World War {that} shows [the[ ‘Red Wall’ has further to crumble.

In Hartlepool, Labour lost nine points from its vote share and by consequence the constituency with Starmer saying the party has “lost connection” with voters.

“Bitterly disappointing,” was the leader’s reaction to the English local elections results and according to the Guardian, Starmer’s response is to pledge the party will consider moving its headquarters out of London in a bid to convince “it represents the whole country”.

Labour is expecting a major reshuffle of the shadow cabinet and an “across the board review of the party’s policies”. It appears Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader is getting the initial blame for the party’s disastrous result while Rayner’s allies rallied to express their frustration at the control exercised by the leader’s office during the campaign.

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