By Tim Montgomerie
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Fascinating piece of analysis from YouGov's Peter Kellner in the new edition of Prospect magazine. Mr Kellner examines how Ken Livingstone outperformed Labour's polling rating in each of the last three London mayoral elections. The Ken bonus (see chart above) was 7% in 2000, 8% in 2004 and then down to 3% in 2008. Currently it's MINUS 15%. And there's one dominant explanation for that: Boris Johnson.
London is a Labour-leaning city. Disappointing results in seats like Hammersmith and Westminster North at the last General Election help explain why Cameron didn't win a majority. The only kind of Conservative who can win in London is a very independent-minded kind of Conservative. As much as CCHQ may sometimes be frustrated by Boris Johnson, his willingness to fight for projects such as Crossrail are crucial to his success. Tory supporters may not like his policies on immigration or a living wage but they are the key to him winning support from people who would normally vote Labour but, at the moment, plan to support Boris – 'the Boris Reds'.
In an interview with Prospect Boris Johnson promises to continue opposing David Cameron on “housing, policing, transport infrastructure, aviation, and the burden of taxation.” He adds a new difference to the lengthening list of policy splits. He says that he opposes evicting rioters from social housing.
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