Sunday, October 17, 1999 Published at 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Kinnock attacks Livingstone's record
Neil Kinnock: "Ken Livingstone invented the loony left"
Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock has attacked London mayoral hopeful Ken Livingstone, currently riding high in the opinion polls.
He accused Mr Livingstone, former head of the Greater London Council, of destroying the body and inventing the "loony left".
Mr Kinnock's comments come after a new opinion poll which said Mr Livingstone would win a mayoral election even if he lost out on the coveted Labour nomination and stood as an independent candidate.
The Mori poll, published in the Mail on Sunday, said Mr Livingstone was the first choice of 42% of respondents, far ahead of his nearest rival, the Tory candidate Lord Archer on 25%.
The Liberal Democrat candidate, Susan Kramer, came fifth with 10%.
Mr Kinnock said Mr Livingstone would use the job to "provide himself with a permanent platform for opposition", and said he would be backing Mr Dobson, seen as the favourite of the Labour leadership.
In that event Mr Dobson, as the official Labour candidate, could count on only 22% of votes.
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook also gave his backing to Mr Dobson on Sunday.
Political Correspondent Carole Walker says Mr Dobson was persuaded to put himself forward by the Labour establishment, in a desperate attempt to prevent Mr Livingstone winning the party's nomination.
The leadership fears Mr Livingstone because he is a "left-wing maverick" whom they cannot control, she said.
The Mori poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 Londoners, suggests attempts by Prime Minister Tony Blair to "fix" the nomination system would backfire.
Of those polled, 77% said Mr Blair should not try to stop Mr Livingstone from becoming the official Labour Party candidate.
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