Tuesday, October 12, 1999 Published at 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Dobson unveils his vision for London
Frank Dobson has left the cabinet to join the race for London mayor
The former health secretary Frank Dobson has formally started his campaign to become the first directly-elected mayor of London.
At his campaign launch, he said he was glad to be taking a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tackle London's problems on transport, crime, homelessness and drugs.
The MP for Holborn and St Pancras announced he was entering the race "not as a celebrity, but as somebody who can get the job done".
He said: "The Tube and the Tube system has been starved of investment and that the government is determined to change that."
Mr Dobson then rubbished the Conservative candidate for mayor, Lord Archer, saying he was "a joke candidate".
He added: "He's been a joke all his life and I don't think he's going to change now."
Labour unveils selection process
Following the precedent set in Scotland and Wales, the Labour candidate for mayor will be selected by a body made up of one third trade unions, one third MPs, Euro-MPs and candidates for the Greater London Authority and one third ordinary London Labour members.
While the former GLC leader is likely to be allowed to stand for the party's nomination, both the union votes and those of MPs can be steered towards Mr Dobson.
Within the party Mr Dobson's other rivals for mayor include Glenda Jackson and Trevor Phillips. The Liberal Democrat's candidate is Susan Kramer.
One man who had often been touted as a likely runner for the Labour nomination, former sports minister Tony Banks, was present at the campaign launch to give Mr Dobson his backing.
Mr Banks told BBC News Online that Mr Dobson was "a politically significant big hitter".
He said: "This is necessary because the mayor will have to work with government, but not be seen as being some kind of political patsy."
Mr Dobson, who is thought to have the backing of the prime minister, received a boost to his campaign on Monday when minister Nick Raynsford dropped out of the race to become Mr Dobson's campaign manager.
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