Livingstone accepts responsibility for defeat

Ken Livingstone has apologised to Londoners after Boris Johnson defeated him in the London mayoral elections.

The Labour party candidate was unseated after Mr Johnson won 53 per cent of the vote.

Mr Johnson won through by virtue of second preference votes, finishing with 1,168,738 votes compared to Mr Livingstone’s 1,028,966.

Speaking in City Hall after his Conservative challenger was confirmed as the city’s new mayor, Mr Livingstone accepted responsibility for the defeat.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t get that extra few percentage points that would take us to victory and the fault for that is solely my own,” he said in a message to supporters.

“You can’t be mayor for eight years and then if you don’t win that third term say it was somebody else’s fault.

“I accept that responsibility and I regret that I couldn’t take you to that victory.”

Mr Livingstone, speaking after Labour suffered heavy defeats in local elections across England and Wales, also paid tribute to his party.

“I particularly want to thank the Labour party; the Labour party came together in an amazing and disciplined way,” he said.

“There is absolutely nothing I could have asked from the Labour party that it didn’t throw into this election; Gordon Brown right the way down to the newest recruits handing out leaflets on very wet, cold days.”

In his acceptance speech, Mr Johnson hinted at the prospect of a role for Mr Livingstone in his new mayoralty.

And Mr Livingstone responded by pledging to do “all I can to help the new administration”.