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Friday, November 12, 1999 Published at 17:52 GMT

UK Politics

Race on for Labour's mayoral candidate

Londoners will vote for their first directly elected mayor in May 2000

Labour has selected all four mayoral candidates for its shortlist, and hopes to announce its final choice by Christmas.

The four hopefuls are left-wing MP Ken Livingstone, the former junior transport minister Glenda Jackson, the former health secretary Frank Dobson and Islington business man Ken Baldry.

They will all be interviewed in front of a party selection panel next Tuesday.

The party will then draw up a final shortlist which will be put before the controversial electoral college system.

It will vote in three groups, one for MPs and MEPs and GLA candidates, one for union members and one for members of the London Labour Party.

Party to vote within weeks

Voting in the electoral college will take place during November or December.

The selection process has caused much heated debate within the party, with the decision to ditch one-member-one-vote in favour of an electoral college being seen as particularly controversial.

The selection process has also run into further trouble with the RMT rail union, which has considered whether to take the Labour Party to court after moves to bar its members who have not paid their dues from voting.

The union supports Ken Livingstone and not the prime minister's choice, Frank Dobson.

If Mr Livingstone does not clear the party interview process on Tuesday he may well stand as an independent candidate, a move which could split Labour's vote, to the advantage of the Conservatives.

Labour's candidate will have to fight their corner against Tory hopeful Lord Archer and Liberal Democrat candidate Susan Kramer.

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