Election organiser London Elects has not released precise figures for ballots counted so far, but graphs on its website show an early lead for the incumbent mayor – though, at this early stage, it would appear that the lead is not yet enough to take him over the 50 per cent threshold needed to avoid a second-round race against former London mayor and Labour candidate Ken Livingstone.

Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick seems to have been left for dust by the two frontrunners, and is battling with the Green Party’s Jenny Jones and independent Siobhan Benita for third, fourth and fifth places.

In nationwide council polls, the Tories have lost control of 11 local authorities and almost 300 councillors.

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