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Monday, October 11, 1999 Published at 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK


UK Politics

Raynsford bows out of London contest

Nick Raynsford is setting aside his ambition to be mayor

Planning minister Nick Raynsford has withdrawn from the race to become Labour's candidate for mayor of London.

The former minister for London will now take on the role of Frank Dobson's campaign manager.

The health secretary announced his decision to quit the cabinet and stand for mayor last week.

Mr Raynsford said: "In the four years I worked with Frank Dobson I always made clear to him that I would not stand against him if he chose to contest the mayoral nomination.

"Following Frank's decision to join the race I am therefore withdrawing my candidacy and urging all my supporters to give Frank their wholehearted backing.

"I have been heartened by the many generous offers of help and support I have received over the past week from many people in the London Labour Party and I know that the party will pull together to ensure the election of Frank Dobson as first Mayor of London on 4 May."

The official choice

Although Prime Minister Tony Blair has yet to give his public backing to any candidate, commentators are seeing Mr Dobson as the choice of the party leadership for mayor.

Mr Raynsford's move consolidates Mr Dobson's position as the main contender for the London job alongside Brent East MP Ken Livingstone.

The recent twists in the campaign for the Labour nomination have altered the bookmakers' view of the race.

They now see Mr Dobson as the Labour frontrunner with odds of 4-5 favourite, while they give odds of 3-1 for Mr Livingstone.

The other two hopefuls for the Labour nomination, Glenda Jackson and Trevor Phillips are on 25-1 and 33-1 respectively.



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