ROBERT GORDON CLARK analyses the choices voters face today
Robert Gordon Clark is the managing director of the London Communications Agency (LCA) PR firm, which is working on the King s Cross redevelopment. He also specialises in election predictions and has promised to give cash to charity if he gets his Mayoral
Robert Gordon Clark is the managing director of the London Communications Agency (LCA) PR firm, which is working on the King's Cross redevelopment. He also specialises in election predictions and has promised to give cash to charity if he gets his Mayoral and Assembly predictions wrong.
By the time you read this article, most votes will have been cast in London's Mayoral election and the results known.
In this election, Ham&High readers will be most interested in the results in Barnet & Camden, Enfield & Haringey and West Central (Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham).
Interestingly, the three Labour candidates in these seats are also on Labour's "top-up list". This is the slightly confusing system which allocates candidates according to the total share of the vote. Eleven of the 25 Assembly seats are allocated on this basis. Of these three, one has no realistic chance, one an outside chance and the other a fighting chance.
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Starting with "no chance", we look at West Central, which we have called the "one horse race". With Hammersmith and Fulham swinging to the Conservatives in 2006, all three boroughs are now true blue.
The Conservative candidate, Kit Malthouse, the former deputy leader of Westminster City Council is standing against Murad Qureshi, a Westminster Labour councillor and GLA member. Not surprisingly we predict a comfortable win for Malthouse here. Qureshi will hope to get back on the Assembly as the number two candidate for Labour on the top up list. We think he will get on - just.
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The outside chance is in Barnet and Camden where the fight is between two well-known London politicians who have been high-profile Assembly members since the GLA was created in 2000. We have therefore nicknamed this seat the "personality clash" as one is Cllr Brian Coleman, of Barnet, the incumbent, and the other is Nicky Gavron, the current Deputy Mayor.
Our prediction here is that Coleman will hold this seat for the Conservatives and possibly increase his majority from the 11,500 he had in 2004. In 2006, the Conservatives strengthened their hold in Barnet and, along with the Liberal Democrats, unseated Labour in Camden (something we did not predict would happen).
Nicky Gavron will, however, almost certainly be back on the Assembly as she is the first name on Labour's top up list.
Enfield and Haringey is perhaps the tightest race of all in London, and here Labour's Joanne McCartney has a real fighting chance to hold this seat. That said, she only had a majority of 1,500 in 2004 over the Conservatives.
Despite the fact that the Conservatives hold no seats on Haringey Council, we think that this seat will swing to the Conservatives. It is perhaps no surprise that David Cameron went on his first campaign tour with Boris Johnson in this part of London.
Joanne McCartney may also get back on the GLA through the top up process if the Labour vote holds up across London.
That leaves the big question about the Mayoral fight between Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson. When we published our predictions in mid April we copped out of calling this, saying it was too close to call - and have paid £1,000 to a good cause for doing so.
Six months ago it was "Ken's to lose", but now it appears to be "Boris's to win".
Either way we predict that the Mayoral fight will be decided on second preference votes and rule Ken out at your peril - he is London's most famous campaigner.