UK polls throw up status quo, Sadiq Khan set to be London mayor

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: May 06, 2016 18:29 IST
Sadiq Khan, Britain's Labour Party candidate for mayor of London, and his wife Saadiya leave after casting their votes for the mayoral elections at a polling station in south London on Thursday. (Reuters)

The Scottish National Party (SNP) emerged victorious in Scotland and Labour just about retained its ground in Wales as results were awaited on Friday for the key contest for the next London mayor between Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Conservative Zac Goldsmith.

Khan, who is of Pakistani origin, is tipped to win the London mayoral election, whose result is expected to be declared later in the evening.

By Friday afternoon, SNP was declared a clear winner though it did not get a majority in the 129-member Scottish Parliament. It was the largest party with 63 seats, ahead of Conservatives on 31 and Labour on 24 – a rise for the Tories and a downslide for Labour.

The result means that though the SNP will be in office for the third consecutive term, its enthusiasm for a second independence referendum will be tempered by the need to enlist support from the Conservative or Labour parties, both of whom are against another referendum.

Labour remained the dominant party in the Welsh assembly, bagging 29 out of 60 seats, but falling short of a majority. The biggest gain was for the UK Independence Party, which won seven seats.

Labour held on to most of its seats in local councils but returned a poorer result compared to the last round of local elections in 2012, prompting renewed carping in party ranks against leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell admitted last week’s anti-Semitism row had damaged the party in the polls, but senior leader Ken Livingstone, who was suspended for his remarks about Adolf Hitler, rejected the claim and instead repeated his controversial comments.

Corbyn claimed Labour had done “far better” than predicted, while deputy leader Tom Watson said he would not support a “coup” against Corbyn, who has been party leader for about eight months.

Pleased with some results, Corbyn said: “We never set a bar for this election. We’ve achieved a swing to Labour since a year ago. We’ll continue that campaign, and I’m very pleased with many of the results we’ve achieved, but there’s a lot more to come today. We are defending seats that were last fought in 2012.”

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