Labour’s Sadiq Khan has won a second term as Mayor of London, beating Conservative rival Shaun Bailey by a narrower than expected margin.
He won more than one million first-preference votes in the contest, but turnout was only 42%.
In his victory speech, Mr Khan said he wanted to “build a brighter future” for London after coronavirus.
The incumbent gained 1,013,721 first-preference votes compared to Bailey’s 893,051, then a further 192,313 second-preference votes compared to Bailey’s 84,550.
The result was finally declared at 11pm on Saturday, amid earlier suggestions that the declaration would be delayed until Sunday.
The Green Party came third behind the two main candidates, with Sian Berry getting 197,976 first-preference votes and 486,798 second-preference.
Actor-turned-populist Laurence Fox gained 47,634 first-preference votes, while novelty candidate Count Binface beat consipracy theorist Piers Corbyn with 24,775 against 20,604.
It provided a glimmer of hope for Labour after it received a drubbing in local elections in England, losing control of a host of councils and a humiliating defeat in the Hartlepool by-election.
Khan tweeted: “Thank you London. It’s the absolute honour of my life to serve the city I love for another three years. “I’ll leave no stone unturned to get our city back on its feet. A brighter future is possible, and we’ll deliver it together.’’
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Labour MP for Tooting, south London, tweeted: “Once again Tooting’s own proves that hope always trumps hate. So proud.’’ In his speech, Mr Bailey said Londoners had not “written him off”.
“As I went through these, for me what was two years of campaigning, one feeling felt familiar to me, one challenge had always felt the same and that was the feeling of being written off – by pollsters, by journalists, by fellow politicians,” he said.
“But it’s no surprise to me that Londoners didn’t write me off – when you come from where I come from and see the things I’ve seen as a poor boy who’s been homeless, who’s been unemployed, a youth worker in the city — you understand London is generous in spirit and will give you a hearing.”