Sadiq Khan was tonight on course to be re-elected London mayor after opening up a lead of almost 25,000 votes over Shaun Bailey.
But the contest proved far closer than had been predicted, with the often maligned Tory candidate performing strongly, especially in the suburbs.
By 930pm on Friday, seven of City Hall’s 14 constituencies had declared, with Mr Khan having received 487,104 first preference votes to 462,837 for Mr Bailey.
This is an overnight lead of 24,267 for the Labour incumbent, with counting due to resume at 8am on Saturday.
A final result is expected on Saturday evening, though there remains a possibility that the winner may not be declared until Sunday morning if the count continues to be delayed by covid precautions.
Results from the first four constituencies show the Tory candidate has polled 5,307 more first preference votes than the Labour incumbent.
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