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Boris 'ahead' in London mayor race

Conservative Boris Johnson is leading the race to run London as counting continues.

Labour rival Ken Livingstone is trailing behind on first preferences after a bitter campaign that has seen the two men clash furiously in public and in private.

Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick faces the embarrassment of potentially being pushed behind into fourth or fifth place as the Green's Jenny Jones currently stands in third, while Independent Siobhan Benita is close behind him.

Although election organiser London Elects is not releasing precise figures for ballot papers counted, graphs on its website show a clear advantage for Mr Johnson in the first round of the mayoral contest. If no candidate takes more than 50% of the vote it will go to a second round.

But as more votes were counted, Labour claimed predictions that Mr Johnson would storm to victory were looking more uncertain.

Shadow olympics minister Tessa Jowell, chair of Mr Livingstone's campaign, told BBC News there had been an assumption in the media, based on polling, that the Tory candidate would "walk away with it".

"It's quite different now," she told the BBC. "It's obviously a very, very tight race, tighter than I thought it was going to be, and let's see."

Labour is ahead in the vote for London-wide Assembly candidates followed by the Tories, while the Lib Dems are in fourth place behind the Greens.

London Elects' graphs put Labour ahead in eight of the Assembly's 14 first-past-the-post constituencies, with Tories on course to take the other six.

This would mean a two-seat loss for Conservatives and the Assembly looked almost certain to remain under no overall control.

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