London elections: Vote counting ‘much quicker’ than 2008 - latest from ExCeL
Votes are being counted at a rapid pace at the ExCeL exhibition centre in east London as candidates wait to learn if they have won a seat on the London Assembly.
Anxious politicians mill around with their campaign teams, staring at the big screens that have been erected to display battles in five constituencies for Assembly seats.
The counting started at 9.30am and all five constituencies being processed in the exhibition centre have passed the halfway mark.
The Bexley and Bromley seat is looking likely to be the first result announced with 91 per cent of the votes verified. Conservative candidate James Cleverly seems odds-on to retain his seat but Labour opponent Josie Channer is claiming that she is denting his majority.
Havering and Redbridge is by far the closest contest with incumbent Conservative Roger Evans inching ahead of Labour’s Mandy Richards.
Lambeth & Southwark’s Valerie Shawcross is way out in front for Labour while Len Duvall is doing in the same in Greenwich & Lewisham.
John Biggs is following suit in City & East as all current Assembly members are looking good to hold onto their seats.
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Unexpected early celebrations entered the ExCeL as the Labour campaign team arrived after John Pierce’s victory in the Tower Hamlets by-election.
Bucking a national trend, voter turnout was impressive in the East End as Labour took a comfortable majority of just under 300 in the Weavers seat.
Alex Wilson, Conservative candidate for Greenwich and Lewisham, remarked how much quicker the votes are being counted than in the 2008 election but the general consensus is that it is too early to tell what the outcome is going to be.
The interactive TV screens are keeping candidates, election agents and journalists alike in touch with the situation, as well as the goings on at the other count centres at Alexandra Palace, Olympia and the Mayoral contest at City Hall.