The Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London has welcomed a PinkNews.co.uk poll that showed he has strong support in the gay community.

Brian Paddick, a former Metropolitan police Deputy Assistant Commissioner, won less first preference votes than incumbent Mayor and Labour’s candidate Ken Livingstone in the poll but took more second preference votes.

Of first preferences Mr Livingstone won 37.66%, Mr Paddick 36.71%, Conservative candidate Boris Johnson won 13.29% and Sian Berry took 10.13% for the Green party.

“The gay community is very representative of London as a whole and they are certainly not going to vote for a candidate just because of his or her sexuality,” Mr Paddick, who is gay, said yesterday.

“Previously, the Mayor has been seen positively amongst the gay community but this poll shows that he has a real fight on his hands.

“Londoners want a change and I am the only serious challenger to Ken Livingstone.

“This poll, like all other polls, shows that Boris Johnson can’t win.”

The PinkNews.co.uk Mayor of London poll took place between 15th February and 18th February. 316 readers who registered with a London postcode had their preferences recorded.

They were offered a first and second choice candidate, as they will be in the real Mayoral election on May 1st.

The two candidates with the most first choice votes go through to a second stage.

All the other candidates are eliminated but the second choice votes on their ballot papers are reviewed.

If their second choice vote is for either of the top two candidates these votes are added to their totals.

Mr Livingstone won 14 valid second preference votes to Mr Paddick’s 32.

Despite topping the PinkNews.co.uk poll, others show Mr Paddick trailing the Tory and Labour candidates.

An YouGov/ITV London poll published on January 25th put Ken Livingstone on 44%, Boris Johnson on 40% and Brian Paddick on 8%.