Last week Londoners gave Ken the boot and now the new mayor has affordable family homes in his sights
The London mayoral election and its result marked a terrible end to a terrible day for Labour nationally as well as in the capital.
Much was made, during the campaign, of the significance for David Cameron of Boris Johnson taking the mayoralty. It sends out a strong message that the Conservatives are back in business.
What else should we see in the results? Ken was a "love him or loathe him" character and this was reflected in the high turnout. The two main parties’ support generally held up well in the constituencies and the major changes took place among the "list members" with three gains for the Conservatives, two losses for the Lib Dems and the BNP gaining their first seat.
What does all of this mean for the development industry? Well, key is Boris Johnson’s pledge to work with London boroughs in the delivery of affordable housing rather than achieving results by the "imposition" of targets. He was also clear that he saw the need to build more family-sized homes through an amendment to the London Plan.
The industry should also note his pledge for a strategy on sustainable growth in outer London, from where he gains most of his support. Half of all London boroughs are Tory-run with a number of others Tory-led so we can be clear on which way policy is going.
The potential battlegrounds to watch are between the Labour government and the mayor – it is notable that the secretary of state has reserved for herself the ability to intervene in future London Plans, albeit in exceptional circumstances.
Also bear in mind that Labour’s showing in the London Assembly seats was strong and that they kept their two "list members" – despite losing the mayoralty. Once they have licked their wounds, Labour councillors will have their eyes firmly on the 2010 local elections. They will be watching mayor Boris like a hawk and be ready to pounce once his honeymoon period is over …
Gabriel Abulafia is a director at Green Issues Communications.