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Millions of voters across England, Scotland and Wales go to the polls today in nationwide local authority elections. But at the same time there’s also a key contest in London between that of challenger Ken Livingstone and incumbent Boris Johnson for the coveted prize of becoming the capital’s mayor.

Flamboyant Conservative Johnson saw off Labour’s Livingstone four years ago. The latter is attempting to regain the role which he formerly held for eight years.

The issues at the heart of both campaigns in this, London’s Olympic year are transport, police numbers on the streets and rising crime. But it could also come down to the candidates’ personalities.

“I think they’re all the same,” said one Londoner. “Ken Livingstone is too old; he’s been there, done it. Boris Johnson’s a bit of a joke – trying to be crafty, get the leadership of the Conservative party – hasn’t really got Londoners’ interests at heart.”

“Police and the streets – well you saw what happened with the riots – so yeah, I think the police, that’s one of the main thing,” said one woman voter.

Last year’s riots have also raised questions about poverty and unemployment, both of which have an impact beyond the capital and are expected to trigger a backlash against the government in the local elections across the country.

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