Cleverly does it at London Assembly election night..
PUBLISHED: 15:08 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 11:42 12 August 2010
THE MAYORAL finale may have reached a nail-biting finish but there weren t many surprises in store for the London Assembly members.
THE MAYORAL finale may have reached a nail-biting finish but there weren't many surprises in store for the London Assembly members.
Most candidates had been at the Excel Centre from the morning and their hopes of an early night were dashed after the results were delayed by the massive 45 per cent turn out rate across London.
The Conservative winner for London Assembly member for Bexley and Bromley, James Cleverly, had been at the count centre since 9.30am, admitting it felt like the count 'was going on forever'.
However, he said he was going to celebrate his colossal win 'through the medium of sleep.'
However, he needn't have worried.
It turns out he had one of the safest Tory seats, winning by the second biggest majority of any of the constituency members with a whopping 51.83 per cent of the vote and a 75,237 vote margin between him and the Labour runner-up Alex Heslop.
Mr Cleverly said: "I feel fantastic. I am exhausted but I am running on adrenalin."
The National Front came fourth in the borough with 11,288 votes and across London the British National Party (BNP) gained an assembly seat for their Mayoral candidate Richard Barnbrook.
Mr Cleverly said: "It is unfortunate. It seems a lot of people wanted a protest vote. The BNP are the perfect protest party. If you vote for them you are guaranteed it won't get ignored.
"If you are white, poor and you feel the government has let you down, there are a lot of people providing them with very simple and childish answers.
"I don't think it is the answer. I don't think the BNP will solve the problems.
"I think the Labour party just didn't see it coming. They are trying to fight a caricature of a party that is not like that.
"They believe they are fighting the Tories of old."
In his speech, Cleverly thanked all the 'people of Bexley and Bromley who voted in such numbers'.
He thanked his predecessor Bob Neill, adding: "He proves nice guys do get on in politics."
Runner-up Mr Heslop said: "I am not surprised by the results but I am very pleased that Labour has gone from fourth to second."
However, he admitted Labour Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone should have 'ventured into the area'.
John Hemming-Clark from Independents to Save Queen Mary's Hospital managed to get a respectable 6,684 votes, but only got 3.29 per cent and not the five per cent needed to get his £1,000 deposit back.
One of the few pieces of good news for the Labour party was Greenwich and Lewisham winner Len Duvall (pictured below) who held onto his seat, increasing his majority from 33.3 to 35.63 per cent.
He said: "I am quite positive about the results.
"It in an interesting area and I am not complacent."
In the most candid acceptance speech of the evening, Mr Duvall thanked all the candidates he ran against, 'apart from the Nazis' and condemned 'one of the vilest leaflets' produced by UKIP against the Conservative candidate Andy Jennings.
Ending his acceptance speech, he added: "Labour are not going out in London".
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