London mayoral election: Key boroughs to watch for Sadiq Khan and Susan Hall as capital holds its breath

The Conservatives are on track for their worst ever local election results.

Labour has had a strong showing, taking control of a string of councils and gaining a new MP in the Blackpool South by-election.

Meanwhile the Tories have lost more than 400 councillors and been squeezed by Reform UK in some areas.

In London, a final poll published on Wednesday, showed Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan’s lead over Tory candidate Susan Hall closing to the smallest it had been since their campaigns began.

Counting in the London mayoral elections began on Saturday morning.

The capital is divided into 14 constituencies for the London Assembly ballot.

Here are the areas to watch:


There have been 14 Westminster by-elections since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister and the Tories have won just one - Uxbridge and South Ruislip, in Hillingdon.

Voter anger at Mr Khan’s Ulez expansion was blamed by Labour for failing to gain the seat.

Labour eyes will be on the area to work out whether anger at the clean air zone might still impact their election chances in London’s “donut”, or whether the fury has fizzled out.

On Friday afternoon one of the only London results to be announced was the Hillingdon East council by-election.

The Tories won, marginally increasing their vote share while Labour’s dropped by 8.7 per cent.Local Tory sources argued the result showed the anger at Mr Khan’s Ulez expansion had not subsided.

West Central (Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster)

The West Central constituency has voted for the Conservative candidate in every mayoral election.

But in 2021, Mr Khan was just 2,000 first-preference votes behind the Tory candidate Shaun Bailey.

Labour also managed to win Westminster council for the first time at the 2022 local vote.

One senior Tory told the Standard that they believe the “Conservative vote held up in Westminster” on Thursday.

But a win for Mr Khan here could signal that the boroughs are on track to back Labour at the next general election, where the party has listed Kensington and Bayswater and Cities of London and Westminster as target seats.

Tower Hamlets (City and East)

Labour may have picked up fewer votes in areas with large Muslim populations as the party struggled over its stance on the war in Gaza, early analysis of the local election results in England revealed.

The first declarations on Friday morning showed Sir Keir Starmer's party made significant gains - winning councils in Redditch, Thurrock, Hartlepool and Hampshire, but it lost overall control of Oldham.

Independent candidates won eight seats in the Greater Manchester borough, where around a quarter of the population are Muslim. Five of the new councillors had stood on a pro-Palestine, anti-Labour platform.

Manchester council's deputy leader was also ousted by George Galloway's Workers Party party in a major upset.

Tower Hamlets has the largest Muslim population in England at almost 40 per cent. Turnout across the London Assembly constituency, which also includes the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham and Newham, was low at just 31.15 per cent.

Mr Khan was the first senior Labour politician to publicly call for a ceasefire in Gaza, putting him directly at odds with party’s leader Sir Keir.

One Labour source told the Standard: “Sadiq was perhaps lucky there was no [George] Galloway-style pro-Palestine candidate standing. They wouldn’t have won, but they could have taken a chunk of votes away from Labour in areas like Tower Hamlets and Ilford.

“In general I think the vote for Sadiq has stood up in these areas. He has been consistent in his calls for a ceasefire.”

Asked whether he was concerned about the impact his position on the Israel/Hamas conflict would have, Sir Keir told the BBC: "Obviously I'm concerned wherever we lose votes, and we intend to win any votes we've lost back."


The Greens are hoping to make gains in parts of east London by capitalising on anger at the Silvertown Tunnel.

Mr Khan has portrayed himself as a ‘clean air mayor’ with the expansion of the Ulez.

But the 1.4km new road tunnel, which stretches from Silvertown in Newham to the Greenwich Peninsula, remains contentious.

The project was designed to reduce congestion in the Blackwall Tunnel, but campaigners say it will just attract more HGVs to the area and around 20,000 extra vehicles a day.

TfL says the scheme will address queues and reduce overall pollution. But it has faced fierce opposition. The Greens won two council seats from Labour in Newham for the first time at the 2022 local elections.

Green mayoral candidate Zoë Garbett had promised to make the tunnel more accessible for people walking, cycling, and using public transport.

Havering and Redbridge

The boroughs have backed the Tory mayor candidate at every mayoral election. Turnout was high in the constituency at 48.17 per cent.

The Labour mayor’s record on crime in the capital was a major campaigning point for the Conservatives in the boroughs.

On Tuesday, just days before polls opened, the area saw a horrific attack in which 14-year-old schoolboy Daniel Anjorin was killed and four other people injured.

Witnesses captured footage of a man prowling the streets of Hainault brandishing a samurai-style sword.

Tory campaigners said the attack, and what is perceived as rising violent crime in the boroughs as a whole, was coming up on the doorstep in the final days before the polls opened.

Both boroughs have also seen opposition to the Ulez expansion.

The area contains key target seats for Labour at the general election, including parts of Iain Duncan-Smith’s Chingford and Woodford Green constituency.