Mayoral vote slightly down

40.5% of eligibile voters cast their ballots reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Susan Hall on LBC (left) and Sadiq Khan (right)
Susan Hall on LBC (left) and Sadiq Khan (right)

A total of 40.5 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots in the London mayoral election, it has been revealed.

The figure is down slightly from the 42 per cent of Londoners who voted in the last contest in 2021.

The counting of how many votes each mayoral candidate received will take place on Saturday. The “official” declaration time is 1.30pm but many expect the announcement to come later than that.

On Friday however, the total number of votes cast was counted, meaning that the level of turnout in different parts of the capital can now be seen.

The data shows that turnout has increased or held steady in some traditionally Tory areas of outer London, and gone down in Labour strongholds in inner London – suggesting a tighter race than had been anticipated.

A path to victory for Conservative candidate Susan Hall – who was thought to be a significant distance behind Labour’s Sadiq Khan – could depend on turnout being lower in the inner city, compared with the more Tory suburbs.

In the Conservative-dominated boroughs of Bexley and Bromley, turnout has risen from 44 per cent in 2021’s election to 48 per cent this year.

In Havering and Redbridge – another strong Tory area overall – turnout rose from roughly 42 per cent in 2021 to about 43 per cent this time.

In Croydon and Sutton, which has almost always voted for a Conservative mayor, turnout held steady compared with the last election – at about 42 per cent.

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Meanwhile in the traditionally Labour-voting areas of inner London, turnout has decreased slightly.

In the North East London constituency – a London Assembly seat comprising Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest – turnout has gone down from 42 per cent in 2021 to about 40 per cent.

In the City and East seat – made up of the City of London, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, and Tower Hamlets – turnout has decreased from 35 per cent to 31 per cent.

Another Labour stronghold, Lambeth and Southwark, has seen turnout decline from 41 per cent in 2021 to 39 per cent this year.

A Labour source said that the fundamentals of the race were still good for Khan, but that no one could know the outcome of the vote at this stage.

A Liberal Democrat source said: “It sounds like heaps of Lib Dem voters have split their ballots – voted for us in the South West London assembly seat, but then voted Sadiq.

“It does still sound like Sadiq has done well, but obviously the Conservatives will be seeing things from other parts of London.”

Since the mayoralty’s creation in 2000, overall turnouts for City Hall elections have averaged at about 40 per cent.

Historically, the highest turnouts in London mayoral contests have been in the ‘change’ elections of 2008 and 2016 – when Tory mayor Boris Johnson and Labour mayor Sadiq Khan each seized their first victories, respectively. But even in those contests, fewer than half of eligible Londoners actually voted, as only 45 per cent turned out in each.

At the other end of the scale, the lowest turnout recorded was in the mayoralty’s first election in 2000, back when Londoners were unused to the idea of having a directly-elected mayor. Just over a third of those eligible – 34 per cent – cast their ballots.

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