I am really disappointed that Ken Livingstone did not secure a third term as Mayor of London. I believe that he has really changed London, from the massive investment and increased use of buses, to affordable housing, to neighbourhood policing which is having a truly significant impact on crime across the capital. Sadly I do think that there is an element of truth in the view that Ken had become arrogant in office, and I'm not sure that he ever believed that he would face a serious challenge for the job. But it is notable that in central London the vote held up well for Ken and even increased. Boris Johnson is something of an unknown quantity - he can't run London simply on a pledge to get rid of bendy buses - so it will be interesting to see how his mayoralty develops over the coming weeks and months.
In Lambeth and Southwark Val Shawcross was returned as the GLA member with a massively increased majority, rising from approximately 5,600 to 23,500. Her share of the vote also increased hugely, with the second placed LibDem candidate Caroline Pidgeon suffering at the hands of a resurgent and positive campaign from the Tories. Caroline has just managed to creep onto the GLA through the list system, but the story of the GLA results is perhaps the collapse of the LibDem vote. The LibDems have lost two members from the GLA, with their share of the vote collapsing across London.
Val Shawcross has been an excellent GLA member, so it is no surprise that she did so well in these elections. I hope that she will use her position to hold the new Mayor to account over the coming four years.
What do these results mean for Labour in Southwark? Well in a few weeks we will have a ward-by-ward breakdown of how the parties performed in these elections, but the headline figures from the results indicate that we performed well. There are clearly issues for the party to address at a national level, but the evidence at this stage does seem to suggest that there remains a solid level of support for Labour in our part of London when it is standing up for residents against the closure of popular childrens museums and huge increases in fees for Meals on Wheels.