Press Release: Johnson must build bridges with Black Londoners

The final results show that Boris Johnson has won the Mayoralty having led in 9 of the 14 London GLA constituencies and captured the lion’s share of the popular vote. Despite fears that bad weather would lead to a low turnout, figures show that there was an 8% increase from 2004 to 45% yesterday.  The Conservative candidate won with 1,168,738 first and second preference votes, compared with Mr Livingstone's 1,028,966.

However, according to some press the majority of Black voters will have backed Ken Livingstone. This overall view was also borne out during the OBV road show campaign that was urging Black voters across London to go out and vote. It is not that Black voters are wedded to the Labour party or Ken Livingstone, but rather they have been concerned about Johnson’s remarks over Africa, Africans and Muslims.

OBV's Director Simon Woolley stated: OBV congratulates Boris Johnson. As London’s new Mayor, Boris Johnson must now demonstrate that he understands what it means to govern a multi-cultural metropolis. Big business is crucial, but equally important is the challenge to address the half a million Londoners that live in poverty, the majority of whom will be African, Caribbean and Asian. Given the bitter nature of this contest, if Johnson is to be a successful Mayor he must also begin by build co-operation and trust with Black communities.OBV’s Deputy Director Ashok Viswanathan, stated:This contest has been the most high profile political race in London since the fight for the GLC in the 1980’s. It has led to an increase in turnout, and Black and white Londoners being engaged in the issues of how their city is governed. The turnout has also ensured that far Right groups have been marginalised.  The BNP won only one seat on the London Assembly despite predictions that they would win three. OBV and anti racist activists should rightly take credit for building a cross- party consensus to denounce the politics of hate and extremism.  ENDS.  Notes to the editor:1. Operation Black Vote is a non-party political campaign.2. The term 'Black' is a political term. It refers to African, Asian, Caribbean    and other ethnic minorities.3. The Black vote can decide who wins and who loses in over 100 seats at the next General   Election.