Watch out Sadiq! Shaun Bailey gains on Labour’s Khan in London mayoral race

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A YouGov survey showed Mr Bailey climb up the polls with a rise of six percent for mid-November. The contest is set to be held on May 6 next year, after being postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Voting in the London mayoral election is decided with supplementary voting, where voters choose a first and second preference candidate. Mr Bailey has been highly touted by Tory MPs such as Micheal Gove.

The YouGov survey for Queen Mary University of London polled 1,048 Londoners between November 16 and November 19.

It found Mr Bailey closing the gap between him and the incumbent Mayor, with a rise of six percent from the last YouGov poll in early March.

The March survey found the Tory candidate with 24 percent support from first round voters, to 30 percent this month.

It follows former Tory MP Rory Stewart dropping out of the mayoral race in May this year.

But despite the gains for Mr Bailey, Mr Khan still leads the pack with a huge 21 percent lead on the Tory candidate.

YouGov polling showed the incumbent Mayor enjoying 51 percent support from first round voters.

The latest poll also shows a jump of two percent support for Mr Khan from YouGov’s March survey.

Out of YouGov’s 1,048 surveyed Londoners without weighting for the sample size, 341 said they would vote for Mr Khan to serve a second term.

In second round voting, Mr Bailey enjoys another upswing of six percent after other candidates drop out.

But the Tory candidate’s 36 percent is dwarfed by YouGov’s projected 64 percent support for Mr Khan.

Professor Tim Bale, of the Mile End Institute, Queen Mary University of London, told the Evening Standard the mayoral contest may not even go to second round voting due to Mr Khan’s lead.

He added: “Even if Sadiq Khan doesn’t pull off a first-round win — which is fairly unlikely even with the lead he has at the moment — Shaun Bailey would have to make up an awful lot of ground before he’d stand even a slim chance of a surprise victory next year.

“It looks as if the Mayor is sitting pretty.”

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Mr Bailey has enjoyed the backing of Mr Gove and other Tory officials in the run up to next year’s election.

Rakhia Ismail, former Labour mayor of Islington, has also backed Mr Bailey over her former colleague Mr Khan.

Ms Ismail quit Labour in September after claiming she experienced racism within the party, and has since voiced concerns over Labour’s efforts to tackle local violent crime and joined the Conservatives.

She said of Mr Bailey: “I believe he will inspire every family across London, and every family across the country that has suffered from violent crime.”

The incumbent mayor recently admitted that the coronavirus pandemic has devastated London’s economy, and said it faces an “existential threat” to its workforce.

In an interview with the Observer, he said: “That’s one of the big things that keeps you up at night. I think we’ve got to accept the fact that there is potentially an existential threat to central London as we know it.

“Are there going to be satellite-type offices in outer London because people may not want to work from home but in a co-working space in zone five or zone four?”

But he also stressed his hopes for the capital to bounce back from the pandemic, and added: “I think there will still be a huge role for central London, because of our unique ecosystem.

“It’s not just finance, professional services, and creative industries, it’s tech, it’s culture, it’s museums, it’s arts, it’s galleries.”

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