London Elections: Candidates hold seats after ExCeL count

19:54 04 May 2012

Five constituencies in east and south London elected their Greater London Assembly Members today.

Five constituencies in east and south London elected their Greater London Assembly members today.

While there was one particularly close run contest, and a dramatic snub of the National Front, the rest of the seats went to familiar candidates.

Starting at 10am and finishing at around 5.30pm, the count at the ExCeL centre in Custom House was the first to announce all of its results.

The election of the GLA member for Havering & Redbridge caused the most drama as incumbent Roger Evans, Conservative, battled it out with first time Labour candidate Mandy Richards in a neck and neck race.

With less than 4,000 votes between them, Roger Evans hung on to his seat but conceded: “We are always going to struggle, as we saw here today, because government has to make hard decisions and that’s not always going to be popular.

“I am very grateful to the residents of Havering & Redbridge for keeping their trust in me and keeping me in this position for another four years.”

Perhaps Mr Evans will be remembered most for his refusal to shake National Front candidate Richard Edmonds’s hand on the podium and exclaiming: “Phew, that was a close one.”

The first result of the day went comfortably to Conservative James Cleverly in Bexley and Bromley.

As in 2008, he gained 52.6% of the vote but Labour’s Josie Channer closed the gap by picking up a significant number of Liberal Democrat voters.

Miss Channer took 24.2% of the vote, compared to her predecessor Alex Heslop who gained 14.5% of the votes cast four years ago.

Mr Cleverly said: “I’m incredibly pleased with the result and I’d like to thank the people of Bexley and Bromley.

“I genuinely love this job and have a great association with the local people.

“The biggest challenge will be maintaining the great quality of service we’ve been providing.”

Labour’s Len Duvall comfortably held onto Greenwich and Lewisham to give his party its first London Assembly seat of the day.

The incumbent had just over 65,000 votes as opposed to Conservative opponent Alex Wilson who had just over 27,000.

Mr Duvall said: “We’re delighted with the result and we’re running the Tories close in a number of constituencies.

“We need to hold the Mayor to his pledges because we’ve got a mandate to govern too.”

Labour’s Val Shawcross held onto Lambeth and Southwark with a comfortable majority over her Conservative opponent.

She won 83,239 votes, with Michael Mitchell lagging behind on 30,537.

Mrs Shawcross said: “I’d like to thank the people of Lambeth and Southwark. This is a great constituency.

“I’m going to serve this community with my whole heart for the next four years.

City & East incumbent John Biggs, a Labour candidate, also won a third term as London Assembly member, saying that he would try his hardest to secure help for ordinary east Londoners at a time of great upheaval.

He said; “I am humbled by the level of support that local people have shown me in east London.

“I am sure that people vote for parties but I also like to think that people have got to know me over the years and the hard work that I’ve done.”

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