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Boris Johnson ahead of Ken Livingstone as London votes for its mayor

By Andy McSmith in London

David Cameron made an 11th-hour plea to potential Tory voters in London yesterday not to assume that the epic battle between two of the best-known names in British politics was already over.

The pollsters and the bookies believe that Boris Johnson will buck the national trend today and defeat Ken Livingstone in the London mayoral election.

However, the Government's unpopularity will mean that he will have to spend four years struggling with a Labour-controlled London assembly.

But yesterday, the British prime minister warned supporters to take nothing for granted, saying in an interview: "The most important message to Londoners is, 'don't believe the bookmakers, don't believe the opinion polls, make absolutely sure you go out and vote for Boris.'"

Mr Livingstone responded: "The Tory PM wants you to vote for the Tory mayor so they can keep going with Tory policies that mean recession, fare rises and police cuts."

Meanwhile, the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, will be dreading the news that Mr Livingstone has lost, because it will knock the shine off the hundreds of gains Labour is expected to make in council elections across the country.

Whatever the outcome, the election will be remembered as a struggle between two big personalities whose rivalry became deeply personal.

(© Independent News Service)

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