Boris Johnson is expected to beat Ken Livingstone in the London mayoral election today, while elsewhere across England, Scotland and Wales, British voters are expected to turn against conservative candidates in local elections.
Conservative officials privately expect the party to lose 400 seats out of a total of 5,000 being contested across the country, according to London's Daily Telegraph.
Labour's Livingstone served as London mayor for eight years before Johnson, whom the Associated Press described as "famously unkempt, outspoken but well-liked," beat him at the last local election.
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Issues facing the two candidates in pre-Olympics London included transport, police numbers on the streets and rising crime, with last year’s riots raising questions about poverty and unemployment that, Euronews wrote, could trigger a backlash against the government across the country.
Polls over the past week have shown Johnson extending his lead over Livingstone, Bloomberg reported, adding that support for the conservatives had slumped to the lowest since the coalition government came to power two years ago.
The latest poll in London, carried out April 27-29, gave Johnson a lead of 56 percent to 44 percent in the decisive second round of counting.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, David Cameron even made an 11th-hour plea to potential Tory voters in London, reportedly saying: "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.'"
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