The last few days have been fantastic news for the country with Gordon Brown getting the clearest message possible that he should start packing his bags and finding a publisher for his memoirs. The culmination of the elections was the news that Boris had become Mayor of London sending that other blinkered Labour politician into retirement on a wave of expectation for real change in London.
Boris has a great vision for London, however he knows that he couldn't and shouldn't do everything on his own. He has constantly told me and other councillors that we know our areas best and should be trusted. I am happy to have a Mayor to take a strategic view but who will not micromanage every borough to attempt to force through unpopular policies. He has already met his campaign pledge to increase the number of police on the streets, albeit just the one, Brian Paddick.
Outer London residents came out in huge numbers to vote for a change and I am determined to remind Boris at every opportunity that we need his attention in Sutton. Crime, transport and housing problems don't stop at the end of the Victoria Line. The London Plan for development requires urgent attention to drastically reduce backgarden development. Antisocial Behaviour on our streets, parks and buses needs battling.
Steve O'Connell, new Assembly Member for Sutton & Croydon had a fantastic result too, doubling the Conservative majority to a whopping 42,000. He has worked hard to prove that he wants to work closely with people in our Borough rather than looking at Sutton as a poor relation to the largest Borough in the City. He deserves his success but we will keep him on his toes as a shopping list of Sutton priorities wends its way up to City Hall. The vote count at Olympia yesterday was interminably boring, lasting 14 hours or so. We were considering a wager to see which result came first, the Zimbabwe Presidential election or London. The counters including many Sutton Council officers worked effectively, the Spanish machinery less so. I'll leave you to work jokes about Spanish Working Practices into the equation.
The full results in Sutton & Croydon can be seen at the London Elects website, a few of the main points follow:-
Boris Johnson 48.36%
Ken Livingstone 28.34%
Brian Paddick 11.77%
Steve O'Connell (C) 43.34%
Shafi Khan (Lab) 19.16%
Abigail Lock (LD) 18.32%
This resulted in an increase in Conservative vote of 6.55% and a decrease in the LibDem vote of 1.80% compared to 2004. Nick Clegg described this as 'counfounding expectations' and 'regaining momentum'. Having seen local LibDem councillors peversely celebrating their loss of the Cheam by-election by holding up the margin of defeat on scraps of paper at the last council meeting the myopia has lost its shock value now. UKIP's share of the vote decreased by more than 5% and were worringly beaten by the BNP in two of the three ballots. There is no doubt who has the momentum to bring change now, we must continue to work hard to show that the Conservatives can bring positive change. No party matches everyone's wishlist, but Gordon Brown and the local LibDem machinery will be offering forlorn prayers for a splintered vote to give them a glimmer of hope to return to power at the next election. I'll be working hard with my Conservative colleagues to offer a vision locally that offers people in Sutton a positive reason to vote Conservative to add to the increasing desire to get rid of the incumbents.