...and bookmakers think it could cost Boris the London mayoral election

BORIS Johnson yesterday admitted the mayoral race would “go all the way to the wire” as the Conservative government’s woes threaten to derail his re-election campaign.

On the day that a double-dip recession was confirmed bookmaker William Hill slashed the odds on a Ken Livingstone victory from 4/1 to 5/2 following a flurry of bets on the Labour candidate to win on 3 May.

“I’m optimistic but to say I’m confident would be an exaggeration,” Boris Johnson told City A.M. yesterday. “As we go into Becher’s Brook it’s neck and neck and I’ve always thought that this would be a very tough fight. No one’s going to take it for granted.”

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said that “punters were convinced Boris was set for an easy victory” but a “sudden surge of support for Ken has seen his odds tumble to their shortest level of recent weeks”.

The last YouGov opinion poll gave Johnson a slim 51-49 lead over Livingstone.