London mayoral election, 2016

For other elections that took place on this day, see United Kingdom elections, 2016.
London mayoral election, 2016
United Kingdom
5 May 2016

Turnout 45.3%
Candidate Sadiq Khan Zac Goldsmith Siân Berry
Party Labour Conservative Green
1st Round vote 1,148,716 909,755 150,673
Percentage 44.2% 35.0% 5.8%
2nd Round vote 1,310,143 994,614
Percentage 56.8% 43.2%

Result of voting by London borough. Red boroughs are those with a plurality of (first-preference) votes for Sadiq Khan and blue are those with a plurality for Zac Goldsmith.

Mayor before election

Boris Johnson

Elected Mayor

Sadiq Khan

The 2016 London mayoral election was held on 5 May 2016 to elect the Mayor of London, on the same day as the London Assembly election. It was the fifth election to the position of Mayor, which was created in 2000 after a referendum in London. The election used a supplementary vote system.

The election was won by Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Tooting, Sadiq Khan, who polled 56.8% of the votes in the head-to-head second round of voting over Conservative MP for Richmond Park, Zac Goldsmith. Goldsmith was more than 25% ahead of the next candidate in the first round of voting, as part of a record field of twelve candidates. Of the twelve candidates only Khan, Goldsmith, and Green Party candidate Siân Berry achieved the requisite 5% minimum first round vote share to retain their deposit.[1]

This was the first election to not feature either of the two previous holders of the office, Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, who had run against each other in 2008 and 2012. Johnson, as incumbent mayor, had chosen not to stand for re-election for a third term in office, having been elected as the Conservative Party MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip at the 2015 general election. The campaign was dominated by the personal battle between Goldsmith and Khan, and their contrasting class and ethnic backgrounds.[2] Through his victory, Khan became the second Labour Party Mayor of London after Livingstone, and the first Muslim mayor of a European Union capital city.[3]


The first announcement of the first round results indicated that Khan was leading.[4] However, this count was later retracted, and official results were delayed pending errors in counting which reportedly misattributed "hundreds" of votes. When the full result including second preference votes was announced at about 0030, Khan increased his lead over Goldsmith.[4]

Mayor of London election 5 May 2016 [5]
Party Candidate 1st Round % 2nd Round Total  First Round Votes  Transfer Votes 
Labour Sadiq Khan 1,148,716 44.2% 161,427 1,310,143
Conservative Zac Goldsmith 909,755 35.0% 84,859 994,614
Green Siân Berry 150,673 5.8%
Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon 120,005 4.6%
UKIP Peter Whittle 94,373 3.6%
Women's Equality Sophie Walker 53,055 2.0%
Respect George Galloway 37,007 1.4%
Britain First Paul Golding 31,372 1.2%
CISTA Lee Harris 20,537 0.8%
BNP David Furness 13,325 0.5%
Independent Prince Zylinski 13,202 0.5%
One Love Ankit Love 4,941 0.2%
Labour gain from Conservative

There were a total of 2,596,961 valid votes and 49,871 rejected votes in the first round, a turnout of 45.3%. In the second round a further 381,862 had not declared a second preference, with a further 2,381 rejected for other reasons.[5][6]


The outgoing Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The 2016 Mayoral Election was the first in which the incumbent Mayor did not stand for re-election.

The position of Mayor of London was created in 2000 after a referendum in London.[7] The mayor has a range of responsibilities covering policing, transport, housing, planning, economic development, arts, culture and the environment, controlling a budget of around £17 billion per year.[8] Mayors are elected for a period of four years, with no limit to the number of terms served.[9]

Prior to the 2016 election, there had been two mayors since the position's creation. The outgoing mayor, Boris Johnson of the Conservative Party was elected as Mayor in 2008, defeating incumbent Labour Party mayor Ken Livingstone. Johnson was re-elected, again ahead of Livingstone, in the 2012 election.[10] Neither Livingstone nor Johnson stood in 2016, making it the first London mayoral election which Livingstone did not contest.,[11] and the first time a Mayor had chosen not to defend their position.[12]

Since the previous mayoral vote, Labour had taken the majority of London votes and seats at the 2015 General Election, despite the Conservative Party winning the vote nationally.[11] Ten further candidates contested the election;[11] of these the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) (8.1%), the Liberal Democrats (7.7%, 1 seat) and the Green Party (4.7%) had been the most popular parties in London at the 2015 election.[13]

Electoral system

The election used a supplementary vote system, in which voters express a first and a second preference of candidates.[14]

This means that the winning candidate has the support of a majority of voters who expressed a preference among the top two.[15]

All registered electors (British, Irish, Commonwealth and European Union citizens) living in London aged 18 or over on 5 May 2016 were entitled to vote in the mayoral election. Those who were temporarily away from London (for example, away working, on holiday, in student accommodation or in hospital) were also entitled to vote in the mayoral election. The deadline to register to vote in the election was midnight on 19 April 2016.[16] However, the Electoral Commission warned that thousands of transient renters were not eligible to vote.[17]

Candidates and their selection processes

The elected Mayor governs Greater London
London Mayoral Election 2016 Candidates
Party Candidate
Green Party of England and Wales Siân Berry
British National Party David Furness
Respect Party George Galloway
Britain First Paul Golding
Conservative Party Zac Goldsmith[18]
Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol Lee Harris
Labour Party Sadiq Khan[19]
One Love Party Ankit Love
Liberal Democrats Caroline Pidgeon
Women's Equality Party Sophie Walker
UK Independence Party Peter Whittle
Independent John Zylinski

The nomination period for mayoral candidates was from 21 to 31 March 2016. Confirmation of candidates occurred after nominations closed, which revealed a record number of candidates for a London Mayoral election[20] Among other requirements, candidates had to be over 18, submit the signatures of 330 supporters (ten from each borough), a £10,000 deposit which is returned if the candidate gets more than 5% of first choice votes, and not have been sentenced to a prison term of three months or more in the previous five years.[21] [n 1] The full list of candidates was released on 1 April 2016, though many parties had gone through extensive selection processes prior to this.[23]

Conservative Party

Zac Goldsmith, Conservative candidate

Seven people registered to be the candidate for the Conservative Party.[24] Of these, three were eliminated: Philippa Roe, leader of Westminster City Council; Ivan Massow, financial services entrepreneur, gay rights campaigner, and media personality; and Sol Campbell, former Arsenal and England football player.[25] Four nominees went into a primary, registration to which was open to anyone in London who is on the electoral roll.[26] The candidate was announced on 2 October to be Zac Goldsmith, journalist, author and MP for Richmond Park.[27][28] The defeated nominees were: Andrew Boff, leader of the Conservative Party in the London Assembly;[24] Stephen Greenhalgh, businessman and Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime;[24] and Syed Kamall, academic, Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists, and an MEP for London.[24]

Election Political result Candidate Party Votes % ±%
Conservative Party Candidate Selection [29]
Turnout: 9,227
Conservative Zac Goldsmith selected as
Candidate for Mayor of London
Majority: 5,037 (54.6%)
Zac GoldsmithConservative6,51470.6
Syed Kamall Conservative1,47716.0
Stephen Greenhalgh Conservative8649.4
Andrew Boff Conservative3724.0

Goldsmith, a member of the prominent Goldschmidt family, grew up in Ham, London. His early career was spent working in think-tanks and for The Ecologist magazine, of which he was editor from 2000 until 2006.[30][31] He left The Ecologist in 2006 when he became deputy chairman of the Conservative Party's Quality of Life Policy Group,[31] and he was elected as Conservative MP for Richmond Park at the 2010 general election. Goldsmith is a social and economic liberal,[32] arguing for a small state with direct democracy.[33] An environmentalist, Goldsmith opposes expansion of Heathrow and has vowed to continue investment in public transport.[34] He is in favour of "right-to-buy" schemes for buying homes, and wants to expand housing stock through high-density, low-rise construction.[34] He is a Eurosceptic and announced support for leaving the European Union.[35][36] Goldsmith's aristocratic background was commented on, particularly in contrast to Khan's working-class roots, though some suggested this could have given Goldsmith an advantage.[37]

Labour Party

Sadiq Khan, Labour candidate

Eight politicians registered an interest in becoming the Labour Party candidate, of whom two—Keran Kerai, Labour Party member in Harrow East and Neeraj Patil, former Mayor of Lambeth and former Lambeth Borough Councillor for Larkhall Ward—were not shortlisted.[38] Between 14 August and 10 September, affiliated and registered supporters and members of the Labour Party in London voted for their preferred candidate.[38] The winning candidate was Sadiq Khan, with 59% of the vote.[19] He defeated: Diane Abbott, former Shadow Minister for Public Health, candidate for leader in 2010 and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington;[38] Tessa Jowell, former Olympics Minister and former MP for Dulwich and West Norwood;[38] David Lammy, former Universities Minister and MP for Tottenham;[38] Gareth Thomas, Shadow Foreign Office Minister, Chair of the Co-operative Party and MP for Harrow West; and Christian Wolmar, journalist, author, and railway historian.[38]

Khan was elected to Parliament as MP for Tooting at the 2005 general election. He had worked as a human rights lawyer.[39] After being the campaign manager for Ed Miliband in the latter's successful bid to become Labour Party leader,[40] Khan was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Justice in 2010, a post from which he resigned after the 2015 General Election and Miliband's resignation as Labour leader.[41]

Labour Party Candidate Selection[42]
Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5
Votes Percent Votes Percent Votes Percent Votes Percent Votes Percent
Sadiq Khan 32,926
37.5% 33,141
37.8% 34,813
40.0% 38,440
44.7% 48,151Green tick
Tessa Jowell 26,121
29.7% 26,406
30.1% 27,272
31.3% 29,785
34.6% 33,575Red X
Diane Abbott 14,798
16.8% 14,957
17.0% 15,878
18.2% 17,849Red X
David Lammy 8,225
9.4% 8,392
9.6% 9,147Red X
Christian Wolmar 4,729
5.4% 4,927Red X
Gareth Thomas 1,055Red X

Khan's selection as a candidate was seen as part of a wider move towards the left in Labour that emerged during the 2015 leadership election that followed Miliband's resignation.[19] Key policies that Khan has proposed include a London 'living rent';[43] a quota system for ethnic minority officers in the Metropolitan Police;[44] increased home building;[45] and a campaign for a London Living Wage.[46] Commentators raised Khan's Muslim religion as a potential barrier to election, after a poll (not mentioning Khan by name) suggested that 31% of Londoners would be 'uncomfortable' with a Muslim mayor.[47] Khan, who was London's first Muslim MP, argued that the election of a Muslim could encourage London to become recognised as a more cosmopolitan city.[47] While Khan had stated that he would serve a full term as MP for Tooting if he were to become Mayor of London,[48] he has since said he would stand down as MP for Tooting if he was elected Mayor.[49]

Green Party

Green Party candidate Siân Berry

Baroness Jenny Jones, the Green party's candidate in the 2012 election, and Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, declined to stand for the Green nomination.[50] Six candidates were shortlisted for the nomination,[50][51] with Siân Berry, the party's candidate in the 2008 election, selected by London-based members of the Green Party.[52] Unsuccessful nominees were Jonathan Bartley (candidate for Streatham in the 2015 general election, co-founder of Ekklesia, and Work and Pensions Spokesperson for the Green Party);[50] Tom Chance (candidate for Lewisham West and Penge in the 2015 general election and Housing Spokesperson for the Greens);[50] Benali Hamdach (Equalities Spokesperson for the Green Party, and former National Health Service researcher);[50] Rashid Nix (a Camera operator and candidate for Dulwich and West Norwood in the 2015 general election;[50] and Caroline Russell (Islington Borough Councillor for Highbury East Ward since 2014 and clean air campaigner).[50]

Election Political result Candidate Party Votes % ±%
Green Party Candidate Selection [53]
Turnout: 1,890 (16.4%)
Green Siân Berry selected as
Candidate for Mayor of London
Majority: ~686 (36.3%)
Siân BerryGreen~94349.9
Jonathan Bartley Green~25713.6
Caroline Russell Green~25113.3
Rashid Nix Green~20410.8
Tom Chance Green~1598.4
Benali Hamdache Green~723.8
Re-open Nominations RON~40.2

Berry joined the Green Party at age 28, and became a prominent green transport campaigner.[54][55] She was Principal Speaker of the Green Party from 2006 to 2007, before becoming the Green candidate for the 2008 mayoral election.[56] She first stood for election at Camden Borough Council, where she lives, in 2002, and was elected to the council in May 2014.[57] Having had a variety of jobs,[56] she is now primarily an author and works for the Campaign for Better Transport.[57] Berry has made increasing affordable housing a key policy area in her mayoral campaign,[54] through brownfield building, capping rents and preventing foreign businesses from purchasing homes.[58] Her aim is to prioritise sustainability oriented policies over those which seek economic growth.[59]

Liberal Democrats

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat candidate

The Liberal Democrats opened their selection process on 8 June 2015. Applications were due by noon on 22 June 2015[60] and six potential nominees stood to be candidates.[61] Four of these were not shortlisted: Brian Haley, a former Labour councillor in Haringey, he unsuccessfully stood for the Liberal Democrat candidacy in 2012; Teena Lashmore, a criminologist, community activist and Liberal Democrat candidate in Bethnal Green and Bow at the 2015 general election; Marisha Ray, a former councillor in Islington; and Paul Reynolds, former councillor.[61][62] Of the remaining candidates, Duwayne Brooks OBE, former councillor in Lewisham, withdrew due to his commitments to a review of police stop and search powers.[62] This left Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly,[63][64] as the only remaining candidate. She was selected, winning 90% of the 3669 votes on a 39% turnout, against the option to Re-Open Nominations,[65][66] as announced on 17 September 2015.[67]

Pidgeon graduated from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1994, moving to London to work in local government and later for the National Health Service.[68] She was elected as a councillor in Southwark in 1998, where she served until being elected to the London Assembly in 2008.[68] She became leader of the Liberal Democrat assembly group, a position she held after their number was reduced to just 2 in the 2012 London Assembly Election,[69] the same year in which she was awarded an MBE for public service.[70] Pidgeon has promised to focus on housing, affordable childcare, air pollution and public transport.[71] She emphasised the need to ensure that workers can live in the city by using rent control and reducing public transport costs.[71]

UK Independence Party

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) candidate was chosen via a selection committee, unlike previous mayoral candidate selections that had been made by London-based party members.[72] The supposed favourite for selection among party members was Suzanne Evans, UKIP Deputy Chairman, former Interim Leader, Welfare Spokesman and candidate for Shrewsbury and Atcham in the 2015 general election.[73] Press such as The Spectator speculated that the decision had been moved to a committee to allow for the selection of national party leader Nigel Farage's preferred candidate, Peter Whittle, Culture Spokesman and candidate for Eltham in the 2015 general election.[72][73] UKIP claimed that the changed selection process was intended to produce a candidate with the potential for receiving the most votes.[72] Whittle was eventually selected, and announced as the candidate at the UKIP party conference on 26 September 2015.[74][75] No shortlist was released but others who had stated their intention to stand had included: Alan Craig, former leader of and mayoral candidate in 2008 for the Christian Peoples Alliance, and UKIP candidate for Brent North in the 2015 general election;[76] Peter Harris, candidate for Dagenham and Rainham in the 2015 general election;[76] Richard Hendron, LGBT activist and candidate for Brentford and Isleworth in the 2015 general election;[73][77] Elizabeth Jones, candidate for Dartford in the 2015 general election;[51] David Kurten, candidate for Camberwell and Peckham in the 2015 general election;[78] Winston McKenzie, perennial candidate and UKIP candidate for Croydon North in the 2015 general election;[51] and Shneur Odze, former Hackney councillor.[79]

Whittle was born in Peckham, before studying at the University of Kent.[80] He worked in journalism, before founding the New Culture Forum think-tank in 2006.[74] He became UKIP's cultural spokesperson in 2013[75] and stood for Eltham at the 2015 general election, receiving 15% of the vote.[80] Whittle is the only openly-LGBT candidate selected by any party as a Mayor of London candidate.[81] Whittle supports the UK's exit from the European Union, and believes that this would not damage London's financial industries.[74] He has pledged to work to ensure that workers can afford to live in London, and opposes further expansion of Heathrow Airport.[74]

Other candidates

Withdrawn candidates

Several independents or candidates from minor parties announced an intention to stand but did not appear on the final list of nominees. The candidate with the highest profile was Winston McKenzie, who was selected as a candidate by the English Democrats. He had run as an independent in 2008 and had sought the UKIP nomination for 2016.[99] In January 2016, McKenzie appeared on the reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother described as the English Democrats candidate,[100] but was not nominated for the election. McKenzie submitted nomination forms, but they were rejected for being incomplete and containing "duplicate signatures".[22] On 8 April 2016 it was confirmed that McKenzie would be standing in a borough council by-election in Croydon to be held on the same day as the mayoral election.[101]

Other candidates who were reported to be intending to stand but did not later appear on the nomination list include Jonathan Silberman for the Communist League,[102] and independent candidate Rosalind Readhead.[23][103] Lindsey Garrett was announced for Something New,[104] but later withdrew.[105]


The BBC debate on 18 April between the five leading candidates was chaired by Andrew Neil

A series of debates, hustings and other events were arranged over the course of the campaign. The first major debate was hosted by the LSE on 28 January and attended by Berry, Goldsmith, Khan, Pidgeon and Whittle.[106] Housing and transport were major topics of the debate, with Martin Hosick of MayorWatch impressed by the performances of Pidgeon and Whittle.[107] Through February and early March a series of sponsored debates on key topics took place, including two on housing,[108][109] one on technology,[110] and one covering green issues.[111]

The next broad debate, with the same five candidates as the LSE debate, in the campaign came on LBC on 22 March.[112] Khan and Goldsmith were accused of immature insults when discussing Goldsmith's plan to allow electric cars to use bus lanes[113] During April, further debates occurred, with the first on 12 April a head-to-head between Goldsmith and Khan on behalf of City A.M..[114] The issue of Goldsmith's campaign was raised, with Khan accusing Goldsmith of running a negative campaign and Goldsmith accusing Khan of hiding behind the label of Islamophobia.[115] The topics of housing, transport and job-creation were all key points in the debate.[116] The BBC hosted a debate with the five major candidates broadcast on BBC One in London on April 18. The Guardian noted an absence of any clear winner, with Khan and Goldsmith focused on each other, Berry and Pidgeon offering very similar policies and Whittle distinct but with no chance of victory.[117] Similarly, The Spectator said that there had been a lukewarm response to policy statements from all candidates.[118] A second head to head took place on 21 April chaired by Kirsty Wark at the Royal Geographical Society on behalf of the Evening Standard.[119] Once again, housing, security and transport were key themes in the debate.[119]

Media endorsements

London Evening Standard Conservative[120]
New Statesman Labour[121]
The Daily Telegraph Conservative[122]
Morning Star Labour[123]
The Guardian Labour[124]


Before October 2015

Early campaigning began with the process of major parties selecting candidates, after the 2015 General Election. The first party candidate to be announced was Lindsey Garrett of the Something New party on 18 May,[104] though she later decided not to stand.[125] The major parties all parties declared candidates in September.[51] Early issues that were highlighted by multiple candidates included:[126]

Early campaign: October 2015 – February 2016

Transport costs on London's Underground system (pictured) were a key early issue in the campaign

The final polls from before the announcement of candidates gave Labour a four-point lead over the Conservative Party.[147] From early in the campaign, the contest was presumed to be between the Labour and Conservative candidates, with both expected to comfortably reach the second round of voting.[148] While Goldsmith – who was the last of the main candidates to be announced, on 3 October 2015 – was widely anticipated to be the Conservative candidate,[149] Khan's selection was more of a surprise.[150]

The first months of the campaign were dominated by the heightened terrorist threat in London, following a series of successful and planned attacks by Islamic State in 2015, particularly the November 2015 Paris attacks and a lone knife attack at Leytonstone tube station in on 6 December.[151] Khan's comments on how British Muslims might respond to the Paris attacks raised positive comments from both supporters and opponents.[152][153] A subsequent leaflet distributed by Goldmsith's campaign team described Khan as "divisive and radical", comments that Labour claimed were an attempt to associate Khan with radical Islam.[154][155] The Conservative Party rejected the accusation, claiming that Khan was "playing the race card".[156]

Elsewhere in the campaign, transport remained a major issue. David Cameron's deferral in December 2015 of a decision on plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport until after the election was interpreted as an attempt to avoid a clash with Goldsmith, his party's candidate, on the issue.[157] Caroline Pidgeon and Siân Berry both promised changes to the fares system to reduce commuter costs on the Tube,[158] while Khan and incumbent Conservative mayor Boris Johnson clashed over planned Tube strikes.[159] An early January 2016 poll gave Khan a 10-point lead over Goldsmith,[160] with bookmakers and pundits all favouring a Khan victory, though most agreed that the race was still open.[161] Towards the end of January, provisional English Democrats candidate Winston McKenzie appeared on reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother, quickly being voted off and causing over 400 complaints to Ofcom following his negative comments about homosexuality.[100]

In February, five candidates – Pidgeon, Whittle, Khan, Berry and Goldsmith – appeared in a debate on issues surrounding technology and science at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.[110] Key topics to emerge included the conflict between traditional London Black Cabs and Uber, and the role of the EU in shaping the British technological industry.[110] A few days later, a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU was announced for 23 June, the campaigning for which intersected with the mayoral election.[162] Alongside Whittle, whose UKIP party was founded with the aim of securing the UK's departure from the EU, both Goldsmith and outgoing mayor Boris Johnson announced their intention to campaign to leave the EU, in defiance of their party leader, Prime Minister David Cameron.[163][164] By contrast, Khan, Pidgeon and Berry all declared their support for remaining in the EU.[165][166] George Eaton of the New Statesman noted that research from the British Election Survey had found that voters in London (a majority-minority city), typically showed more support for the EU than voters in the UK as a whole.[164]

Official campaign: March – May 2016

In a letter intended for London's Hindu and Sikh populations, Goldsmith accused Khan, a Muslim, of wanting a "wealth tax on family jewellery."[167][168] The letters formed part of what Khan's campaign said was a racist campaigning strategy from Goldsmith,[169][170] with Goldsmith claiming that Khan was a dangerous and "deeply partisan politician".[169]

March polls for YouGov and Comres showed Khan retaining his lead over Goldsmith, though by a reduced 3 percentage points in the Comres poll and an increased 7 points in the YouGov poll.[171][172] The Comres poll also showed Khan leading in a run-off[171] while neither poll gave any other candidates more than 6% of the first round votes. Both polls suggested that the race remained close, with the number of undecided voters comfortably larger than Khan's lead over Goldsmith.[169] Meanwhile, Londonist criticised both Goldsmith and Khan for "sending substitutes" instead of appearing at hustings events across London.[168] The official campaign began on 21 March, when nominations formally opened.[173] The confirmed list of candidates was released on 1 April, revealing that 12 people in total had secured the support and financing required for a nomination.[23]

Khan's manifesto launch came early in the official campaign period, on 9 March. Focusing on housing, Khan promised for database of landlords who had been prosecuted for housing-related offences, as well as the creation of a Mayor-controlled non-for-profit letting agency.[174] He pledged a freeze on rail fares [174] and a series of measures to tackle gender inequality, including a zero-tolerance policing approach to domestic and sexual violence, publishing a gender pay audit of City Hall, and an attempt to make childcare more affordable by awarding key worker status to employees in the industry.[175] In early April, Berry and Pidgeon both released their manifestos, with both focused on housing.[176][177] Goldsmith's manifesto was one of the last to be released, on 12 April.[178] He focused on the economy, promising that his house and infrastructure building policies would help create 500,000 jobs.[178] He also promised a freeze on mayoral council tax and increased police numbers.[178] Green issues were also a core part of his agenda,[179] with new traffic regulations to encourage cleaner vehicles and the creation of new pocket parks.[178]

Through April, the personal battle between Goldsmith and Khan continued to dominate the campaign, with Goldsmith's campaign team repeatedly accused of racist or islamophobic campaigning,[180][181] an accusation that they strongly denied.[180] Other candidates struggled to gain publicity and none of the major candidates were able to differentiate themselves significantly on policy.[118] On 22 April, a YouGov poll saw Khan stretch his lead over Goldsmith to 11 points in the first round, with Whittle, Berry and Pidgeon remaining very close to each other but some 25 points further behind Goldsmith, and Khan leading Goldsmith with 60% to 40% in the final round of voting.[182] On 29 April, comments by Labour MP Naz Shah and former Labour Mayor of London Ken Livingstone led to both being accused of anti-semitism. Livingstone had been a close ally of Khan, who quickly distanced himself from the comments before Livingstone was suspended from the Labour Party.[183] A poll released on the same day showed Khan leading Goldsmith by 20 points in the second round of voting, with no other candidates on more than 5% in the first round.[184] In the final week of the campaign, minor candidate Prince Zylinski endorsed Goldsmith.[185]

Election and count

Election day, 5 May 2016, was affected by confusion in the London Borough of Barnet, as an undetermined number of the borough's 236,196 voters were turned away from polling stations owing to an error with the electoral lists.[186] The first registers delivered to the polling station contained only those voters who registered since January 2016. Polls opened at 8am and the problem was not rectified until 10.30am.[186] The count began on Friday 6 May taking place at three locations across the capital.[187] The declaration, made at City Hall [187] was delayed following "discrepancies" with the initial count of votes, in which hundreds of votes were reportedly misallocated.[4] As the result was announced early on 7 May, outgoing mayor Boris Johnson remained in position for a further day, handing over to Khan on 8 May.[188]

Opinion polls

In the run-up to the election, several polling organisations carried out public opinion polling on voting intentions.

Final candidates


First Round Second Round
Date Firm Sample Size Goldsmith Khan Berry Pidgeon Whittle Galloway Others Goldsmith Khan
5 May Election results 2,596,961 35.0% 44.2% 5.8% 4.6% 3.6% 1.4% 5.2% 43.2% 56.8%
2-4 May YouGov 1,574 32% 43% 7% 6% 7% 1% 4% 43% 57%
28 Apr-3 May ComRes 1,034 36% 45% 6% 6% 4% 1% 2% 44% 56%
26 Apr-3 May TNS 1,001 33% 45% 4% 7% 5% <1% 5% 43% 57%
26 Apr-1 May Opinium 1,004 35% 48% 5% 4% 5% <1% 3% 43% 57%
21-25 Apr Survation 1,010 34% 49% 3% 3% 5% 2% 4% 40% 60%
15 Apr-19 Apr YouGov 1,017 32% 48% 6% 5% 7% <1% 2% 40% 60%
30 Mar-3 Apr ComRes 1,049 37% 44% 4% 7% 5% 2% 1% 45% 55%
30 Mar-3 Apr Opinium 1,015 39% 49% 3% 4% 4% 1% - 46% 54%
14-17 Mar ComRes 1,011 39% 42% 6% 6% 5% 1% 1% 47% 53%
8-10 Mar YouGov 1,031 36% 45% 4% 5% 7% 2% 1% 45% 55%
2–7 Mar Opinium 1,011 42% 48% 3% 3% 3% 1% - 45% 55%
4-6 Jan YouGov 1,156 35% 45% 5% 4% 6% 2% 2% 45% 55%


DateFirm Sample Goldsmith Khan
18–21 Nov 2015 YouGov 2,006 47% 53%
6-8 Oct 2015 YouGov 1,178 49% 51%

Before confirmation of candidates

These polls were conducted before candidate details were finalised, and show hypothetical match-ups between Zac Goldsmith and prospective Labour candidates.

Zac Goldsmith vs Sadiq Khan

DateFirm Sample Goldsmith Khan
10-12 Aug 2015 YouGov 1,153 54% 46%
2 July 2015 YouGov ? 53% 47%
8-11 June 2015 YouGov 1,236 50% 50%

Zac Goldsmith vs Tessa Jowell

DateFirm Sample Goldsmith Jowell
10-12 Aug 2015 YouGov 1,153 47% 53%
2 July 2015 YouGov ? 43% 57%
8-11 June 2015 YouGov 1,236 42% 58%


As the first results were announced, several Conservative Party politicians, including Andrew Boff and Sayeeda Warsi, denounced Zac Goldsmith's campaign,[189][190] while writers such as left-wing columnist Owen Jones once again described it as "racist".[191] Khan's win was described as a highlight on for Labour on a day in which the party had lost 19 councillors in the English local elections and fallen to third place, behind the Conservatives, in the Scottish parliament election.[192] However, in the subsequent days, Khan distanced himself from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's election strategy, amidst rumours of a party rift.[193] Khan subsequently supported Corbyn's opponent, Owen Smith, in the 2016 Labour Party leadership election.[194]

In his victory speech, Khan said that his victory represented a victory for "hope over fear"[195] Internationally and in the UK, many responses focused on Khan's election as the first Muslim mayor of London.[3] Khan received congratulations from politicians globally, including French Prime Minister Manuel Valls; Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for the United States 2016 presidential primaries; and Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who in 2014 became the first Christian governor of an Indonesian province.[3][196] Khan's working-class background was also noted, particularly in contrast to the aristocratic background of Goldsmith.[3] A week after the election, Khan announced Joanne McCartney, London Assembly member for Enfield and Haringey, as his deputy mayor.[197]

Green Party candidate Sian Berry, who finished third ahead of Pidgeon and Whittle, received the largest number of second-preference votes of any candidate with 468,318 votes representing 21% of the total.[198] All three were elected to the London Assembly in the vote on the same day. Sophie Walker's 2.0% of the vote was reported positively in what was the Women's Equality Party's first ever election.[199] She also would have been elected to the Assembly on a pure D'Hondt allocation, but a 5% threshold denied her the seat. By contrast, former MP George Galloway's 1.2% of the vote was seen as something of a humiliation.[200]

Khan formally resigned from his position as MP for Tooting on 9 May, triggering a by-election[201] to be held on 16 June.[202] On 16 June, Rosena Allin-Khan won the by-election in Tooting, with an increased majority.[203] A few months after the election, Goldsmith also pledged to resign as an MP if the government were to announce plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.[204] Following the decision to build the runway, Goldsmith stood-down as MP for Richmond Park, triggering a by-election, in which Goldsmith stood as an independent candidate. [205] On 1 December 2016, Goldsmith, was defeated in the by-election by Sarah Olney of the Liberal Democrats, with Goldsmith's loss put down to his stance in favour of Britian's exit from the European Union.[206]


  1. A thirteenth prospective candidate submitted nomination forms, but they were rejected for being incomplete and containing "duplicate signatures".[22]


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