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Conservatives are prepared to challenge the result of the London mayoral race through the courts if the result is tight following chaos at polling stations across the capital.
Thousands of people were suspected to have been turned away at polling stations in Barnet, north London, after officials were given incomplete lists of registered voters.
The Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and his wife were among those affected as political candidates and voters expressed fury at the “affront to democracy”.
Jewish leaders expressed concern that after a week dominated by an anti-Semitism row in Labour many Jews may have been unable to vote due to the blunders.
There have been calls for a public inquiry after 155 polling stations across the borough suffered problems between 7am and 10am on Thursday.
When will the new Mayor of London be announced?
The timing of the declaration will be any time from 5pm on Friday May 6. It is likely to be earlier in the evening but the night could easily drag on if any of the boroughs need to recount ballot papers.
According to a recent YouGov poll, Labour candidate Sadiq Khan looks likely to win with 48 per cent of the vote. Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith is lagging behind with 32 per cent, if polling is to be believed.
However, the polls were wildly wrong for last year’s general election and this coupled with the recent row about Labour’s handling of the anti-Semitism crisis – the likelihood of Khan storming away with a win is not as water-tight as previously thought.
But in a further twist, problems in with the electoral list in Barnet on Thursday morning meant thousands of people couldn’t vote. The failures are most likely to hit Zac Goldsmith, given the borough’s 236,000 registered voters tend to back the Tories.
Will it be Sadiq Khan or Zac Goldsmith?
Labour’s Sadiq Khan and the Conservative’s Zac Goldsmith are considered to be the main contenders in the race.
Here is a quick guide to who they are, their key policies and why you should or shouldn’t vote for them.
Who is he?
Labour’s Mayoral candidate is MP for Tooting and a former human rights lawyer. The 45-year-old also served as a minister in Gordon Brown’s government, the first Muslim to attend Cabinet meetings
- Give Londoners “first dibs” on new homes
- New housing with rent based on local income
- All public transport fares frozen for four years
Who is he?
The Conservative Mayoral candidate is MP for Richmond Park and a former editor of the Ecologist. The 41-year-old has been a prominent environmental campaigner, initially feted as David Cameron’s Green champion.
- Build 50,000 homes by 2020
- 500 more police on the Tube
- Freeze council tax for four years
The other candidates
There are 10 other candidates standing in the contest:
- Sian Berry, Green Party of England and Wales
- David Furness, British National Party
- George Galloway, Respect Party
- Paul Golding, Britain First
- Lee Harris, Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol
- Ankit Love, One Love Party
- Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrats
- Sophie Walker, Women’s Equality Party
- Peter Whittle, UK Independent Party
- Prince Zylinski, Independent
What do the polls say?
Most indicators point towards Sadiq Khan being the city’s next mayor.
A recent YouGov poll gave the Labour candidate a 16-point lead among first-preference votes, with 48 per cent of support, followed by Mr Goldsmith on 32 per cent. When second-choice votes were reallocated, the split was 60 per cent support for Khan and 40 percent for Goldsmith.
One bookmaker has put the odds of the Tory candidate winning the race at just 2 per cent.
Arguably, the election is automatically slanted in Mr Khan’s favour. London is a Labour town. 45 out of 73 of its MPs are Labour. That was up on 2010. Likewise the number of votes the party took at the 2015 general election: 1.55 million against 1.23 million for the Conservatives.