Envoys choose Boris

Boris Johnson has won by a whisker in a poll of London’s diplomats who picked him as the mayoral candidate who would make the best Ambassador for London.

In a survey conducted by Embassy, 39% of diplomats felt the Tory candidate would best represent London on the world stage, with the Labour hopeful coming a very close second, attracting 36.5% of the votes. Brian Paddick came a respectable third with a 19.5% share of the diplomatic vote and 5% were undecided.

The voting preferences seem to mirror those of Londoners: Johnson reigns supreme in the leafy suburbs and in the diplomatic corps, the majority of his support (57%) comes from higher income countries. Livingstone, meanwhile, rules the inner city and much of his support base (62%) in the diplomatic community comes from developing nations. Interestingly, 85% of Brian Paddick’s vote came from EU diplomats.

Some of Johnson’s support in the diplomatic community is likely to be in the form of a protest vote against Livingstone’s much-hated congestion charge, but when canvassing opinion on the diplomatic circuit, many envoys said they had chosen the incumbent because of his experience – in spite of his congestion charge policy.

Most Johnson supporters said they were keen to see a fresh face in City Hall. For one diplomat, he “represents the future for London.” Others confessed they had been charmed by the Tory candidate. “He is hugely entertaining,” said one diplomat. “And charisma does count for something.”

But the Tory candidate’s ill-judged comments about piccanninies and Papua New Guineans probably cost him votes.

Commonwealth and EU residents are eligible to vote in the local elections, so it is estimated that just over half the diplomatic community (about 1,500) could, in theory, cast a ballot. It’s not going to win an election but all three candidates were good enough to answer our readers’ questions.

To read about the answers please click here.