The detailed breakdown of votes from the election shows how that ‘local boy’ status helped him secure the job by taking traditional Tory territory in South West London.
Merton and Wandsworth are boroughs that could previously be relied upon to vote for a Conservative Mayor. They helped form the doughnut of outer London Conservative blue around the Labour red of central London on the political map. But in last month’s poll, the jam squirted out of the political doughnut in this corner of London.
The borough of Wandsworth proved an intriguing backyard battleground for the local boy from Tooting. His Conservative opponent, Zac Goldsmith, managed to win 11 of the 20 wards and was ahead in postal votes from the borough. But Sadiq Khan took 9 wards compared to the 5 won by Labour’s Ken Livingstone in 2012. In his home neighbourhood of Tooting he increased the Labour share of the vote from 53% to 66%. He did the same in the Graveney ward, and in Furzedown took the share up to 69%.
Although taking fewer wards, Khan won the battle for votes taking 42% of first preferences to Goldsmith’s 40% in the borough. But Wandsworth demonstrates not just how Khan increased the Labour vote but how Goldsmith lost the broader contest.
The Conservative candidate lacked the popular appeal of Boris Johnson, who in 2012 managed to win 53% of first preference votes in the borough.
In the neighbouring borough of Merton there was a direct turnaround in political fortunes. In 2012, Johnson won the borough and secured 44% of first preference votes with Ken Livingstone scoring 37%. Last month, Zac Goldsmith’s share sank to the Livingstone level, 36%, against 42% of first preferences for Khan.
The battle for Mayor was largely won through the large Labour vote in central area, as previously reported by Urbs. But the switch in the South West shows how the local boy factor may have helped some Conservative inclined voters to lean left.