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Sunday, November 7, 1999 Published at 18:38 GMT

UK Politics

Gloves off in mayoral battle

Ken Livingstone's allegations were dismissed by Frank Dobson's team

The fight to be official Labour candidate for Mayor of London has intensified after Ken Livingstone accused rival Frank Dobson of having privileged access to wealthy party donors.

Interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live, Mr Livingstone said donations to his campaign had averaged around £14-15.

[ image: Frank Dobson has denied being given preferential treatment]
Frank Dobson has denied being given preferential treatment
He added: "Clearly Frank has raised about £50,000 in just two weeks, so most probably he's also been given access to the Labour Party big donors list and there will be donations of £10,000 or £15,000 from well-known celebrities who have supported us in the past."

But a spokesman for Mr Dobson's campaign dismissed the allegation out of hand.

"He has just made it up, he's got it wrong. It is not true," the spokesman said.

And a Labour Party spokesman added: "This is just not true. It is utter, utter tosh."

[ image: Hampstead and Highgate MP Glenda Jackson is running against Mr Dobson]
Hampstead and Highgate MP Glenda Jackson is running against Mr Dobson
Mr Livingstone also risked Prime Minister's Tony Blair's wrath by saying Labour had introduced post-election "stealth taxes".

He told BBC One's On the Record: "In the run-up to the election I did not believe we were serious about not increasing taxes. And I have been proved to be right.

"We haven't increased the top rate of tax and the standard rate of tax, but we have increased a lot of other taxes. We needed to because there was a huge deficit."

The Brent East MP said he would "mobilise a campaign" if he was barred from the shortlist of Labour candidates for the nomination.

The BBC's Emma Udwin reports: "He denied receiving special help"
Earlier, Mr Dobson sought to address claims that he has enjoyed an unfair advantage over his rivals by being given a party membership list by Labour's central office.

On Saturday, a Dobson supporter who visited his campaign headquarters said he saw a centrally-held list of Labour's London membership on a computer screen there.

Mr Dobson insisted Labour's Millbank headquarters had not been helping his campaign and told any "bright young things" there to "keep their stupid noses out".

He has asked for the membership list to be made available to Mr Livingstone and Hampstead and Highgate MP Glenda Jackson, who is also contesting the candidacy.

The Conservatives have already chosen Jeffrey Archer as their candidate, and the Lib Dems Susan Kramer.

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UK Politics Contents

A-Z of Parliament
Talking Politics
Vote 2001

Relevant Stories

07 Nov 99†|†UK Politics
Dobson strikes back

05 Nov 99†|†UK Politics
Inquiry into Dobson's campaign

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Mayoral race dogged by smear claims

31 Oct 99†|†UK Politics
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15 Oct 99†|†UK Politics
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Glenda Jackson

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