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Sadiq Khan fears change to voting system could bring London Tory mayor

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Sadiq Khan has called on Liberal Democrat and Green supporters to “lend him their votes” in the May mayoral election, saying changes in the voting system mean he could lose to the Conservatives’ Susan Hall.

This year’s election on 2 May will be held under the first-past-the-post system, meaning voters will only get one vote each. In previous contests, Londoners have been able to have a first and second preference.

In an open letter targeting Liberal Democrat and Green supporters, Khan, who is seeking a third term as London mayor, said the new system brought in by the Conservative government meant the election was “on a knife-edge”, the Evening Standard reported.

“This election represents a real shift with major changes to the voting system brought in by the Tory Government to make it more likely their candidate will win,” Khan said.

“To all of those who gave me their second preference votes last time, I say thank you, and ask that you put your trust in me this year by lending me the sole vote you can cast for mayor.

“This election is a close two-horse race between me and the Conservative candidate. I’m under no illusion, I could lose in May.”

He added: “At the last London mayoral election, in 2021, I was less than 5% ahead after the first round of voting.

“These are the finer margins we’ll now be dealing with. That’s why, today, I am making a direct appeal to Liberal Democrat and Green voters across our city to lend me their support to keep the Tories out and progressive politics in. Unlike last time around, there is no insurance policy with a second choice.

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“I am asking for their help so that we don’t wake up in six weeks’ time to find our city’s cherished values at serious risk with a hardline Conservative in City Hall.”

Khan launched the so-called “love letter” to voters on Saturday, posting images of him on X as he took to the campaign trail in Surbiton, south-west London.

“If you believe in progressive politics please lend Labour your vote on 2 May in the Mayor & Assembly elections,” he tweeted alongside the photos and video.

For the first time, Londoners will also need to have photo ID in order to be able to vote.

According to analysis of the electoral roll by the mayor’s office, more than 900,000 people in the capital could lack the necessary ID to vote.

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