"The king of bling is back"

Times Series: Self-proclaimed "king of bling" Brian Coleman, re-elected Conservative GLA member Self-proclaimed "king of bling" Brian Coleman, re-elected Conservative GLA member

Brian Coleman was re-elected for Barnet and Camden by an overwhelming margin of almost 20,000 votes tonight.

And the Conservative launched an angry tirade in his acceptance speech against his Labour opponent, Nicky Gavron, that left her visibly shocked.

The former Deputy Mayor had earlier said that she was only running against Mr Coleman "to stop him resting on his bling".

In a rousing speech that was met with raucous applause from his Tory supporters, Mr Coleman made reference to Ms Gavron's role in the Olympic torch relay in central London last month, and what he perceives as her lack of local nous.

He said: "I say to the Deputy Mayor, whose hands are dripping with the blood of Tibet after handing over that torch, take your A to Z back to Haringey because the people of Barnet and Camden have rejected you.

"You may have said to the press that I rest on my bling, well the king of bling is back."

Mr Coleman left Alexandra Palace, where the results were announced, with his mother just as soon as he had delivered his speech, stopping only to thank and kiss some of his supporters.

Ms Gavron appeared nonplussed by the rant, saying she had had trouble hearing it as she was stood behind Mr Coleman.

Her selection to run for Barnet and Camden was a clear attempt by the Labour party to pit one of their political heavyweights against Mr Coleman, who has held the seat for eight years and has substantial support in Barnet.

The two have been fierce rivals at City Hall and vocal in their criticism of one another, particularly on the subject of their expense claims.

But the election campaign proved to be clean - until last night.

Ms Gavron had admitted before the results were anounced that she knew she was not going to win and implied that she had taken the decision to ruffle some feathers.

After the result was announced she said: "It was always going to be a very, very steep challenge. It was the most un-winnable of all the margins.

"We had a really huge majority to overturn but the swing last time was much bigger than this time."

Ms Gavron looked on as her party suffered defeat, compounded by the overwhelmingly blue colour of votes in Barnet and Camden.

There was a huge turn-out of more than 47 percent across the two boroughs and 81,718 people voted for Boris Johnson as their first preference, to Ken Livingstone's 63,912.

The results capped a good day for the Conservatives in Barnet, which appears to be rapidly becoming a Tory stronghold.

Mr Coleman polled 72,659 of the votes to Ms Gavron's 52,966, while the Liberal Democrat candidate Nicholas Russell came third with 22,213.

Miranda Dunn, of the Green party, was next with 16,782.

Both Mr Russell and Ms Dunn vowed to continue working in Barnet on issues that have been at the heart of their respective election campaigns.

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