11:40am Sunday 13th May 2012
By Clare Buchanan
An ambitious ex-civil servant who nearly provided a major upset in the race to become London’s Mayor hailed her first campaign a success.
Siobhan Benita came in fifth place in the Mayoral election, with 83,914 first preference votes and 212,412 second preference votes at the end of the count on May 4.
The independent candidate said she was thrilled with the result, which left her vying for third place for a time before ending 7,860 votes behind Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick.
She said: “I am delighted to come that close. It is better than we, and I think most people, thought we would do.”
The New Malden mother- of-two said she had “loved every minute” of her campaign, which began after she quit her high-flying job in Whitehall earlier this year.
She said: “It was so exciting for us doing everything for the first time.”
The 40-year-old said she was finally starting to catch up on sleep after crashing from the adrenalin of the campaign, which she managed without party backing or funding.
She said: “My whole campaign cost about £5,000 – what I had was lots of passion, a small team of dedicated volunteers and innovative policies.”
Mrs Benita said the experience stood her in good stead if she chose to run for London Mayor again but, although she intended to stay in politics, she said she was unsure of her next move.
She said: “At the moment I am thinking about my options for the next four years.
“I think it has just been such a good experience and I want to stay in the London political track.
“If I stand again the tables would be turned, I would be the only candidate who has experience of standing.”
One thing Mrs Benita has committed herself to is to fight for change in broadcasting rules, which she said severely hampered her campaign and “were out of date and needed to change”.
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