By Joe Talora, local democracy reporter
With Londoners set to head to the polls tomorrow (May 6) to vote for the next Mayor of London, candidates today had one final chance to get their messages across to voters.
The final opinion polls ahead of the election confirmed Sadiq Khan as the favourite in the race despite a late surge of support for his Conservative rival Shaun Bailey.
The current Mayor of London spent the final day of campaigning in east London, first meeting London Assembly candidates and local councillors in Newham before making his way to Waltham Forest where he chatted with locals, business owners and reporters.
Mr Khan discussed his plans to focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs” to revitalise London’s economy post-pandemic, as well as plans to tackle violent crime by addressing causes such as poverty and lack of opportunities.
The Labour candidate also told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he hoped, should he win tomorrow, that the Government would “respect the wishes of Londoners” and give him powers that would allow him to implement his manifesto pledges, such as rent controls.
Shaun Bailey, meanwhile, was this morning joined by vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi in Kennington as he focused on the issue of tackling knife crime.
Mr Bailey said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, we can’t go back to the record levels of knife crime and high cost of living that Londoners have faced over the last five years. We need a recovery.”
The Conservative candidate discussed his plans to put more police officers on the streets and reopen police stations before hitting the doorsteps for the final time this campaign.
Green Party candidate Sian Berry spent the final day of campaigning in south London, first discussing her plans to protect London’s renters with tenants and activists in Lambeth, before revealing a plan to expand school streets to universities and colleges during a visit to Lewisham.
Ms Berry said: “I’m not going to give anyone any negative reasons to vote out of fear. Londoners have the chance to vote for something completely positive in this election.
“We can bring down rents, bring up the living wage, clean up our air and create good, green jobs. But we can only do all of this with a real Green mayor.”
Luisa Porritt, meanwhile, headed to the Liberal Democrat stronghold of south west London, where she was joined by her party’s leader and local MP Sir Ed Davey.
The Lib Dem candidate visited businesses and doorsteps in Surbiton, where she discussed her plans to reinvent high streets and convert disused offices into homes, making her case as the “progressive challenger” to Labour in London.
Ms Porritt said: “London is a vibrant, diverse, liberal city. Since inflicting Brexit on us, the Conservatives have blown their chances of winning here. They don’t reflect our values. The Tory candidate is miles behind the current Mayor and voters are looking for a new challenger to Labour in the capital.”
Polls open at 7am tomorrow (May 6) and voters can select a first and second preference for who they want to be Mayor of London.
Should no candidate receive 50 per cent of first preference votes, the top two candidates go through to a second round where voters’ second preference votes are added.
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