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'DOBSON LACKS MAYORAL SUPPORT'......'DOBSON CAMP CLAIM VICTORY'

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Campaign managers for Frank Dobson have warned him he is critically short of the votes required to secure a clear v...
Campaign managers for Frank Dobson have warned him he is critically short of the votes required to secure a clear victory in the contest to become Labour's London mayoral candidate, reported The Sunday Telegraph (p2). With only days of voting left, they have told

him his support among party members in the capital is running at below 40%.

Ken Livingstone is expected to poll more than 50% - leaving Mr Dobson needing the votes of MPs and trade unions to win the day. Under the rules of the contest ordinary members account for only a third of an electoral college. Another third comprises unions and socialist

societies, which can choose whether to deliver a block vote or ballot members. The remianing third consists of MPs and MEPs representing London and Labour candidates for the new Greater london Authority.

Mr Dobson's allies say they were not disheartened by last week's ousting of Labour's Welsh assembly leader Alun Michael, who was chosen under the same system, against the wishes of ordinary members. A member of the Dobson campaign team said: 'We're completely confident Frank will win. But the question is whther it will be enough to prevent him being undermined by those who will say he only scraped through on a rigged system'.

...'DOBSON CAMP CLAIM VICTORY'

A confident Frank Dobson is boasting that he has defied the odds and won Labour's contests for London mayoral candidate by 'a short head', according to The Mail on Sunday (p17).

A last-minute surge of support among Labour's 50,000 members in London has pushed the ex-health secretary into a winning lead, his closest aides said at the weekend. According to their private polling, they believe that Mr Dobson has secured the 37% he needs in the constituency section of the complex electoral college voting system to win.

The claim astonished the rival camps of Ken Livingstone and Glenda Jackson, who remain convinced that Mr Dobson is heading for a humiliating defeat. They are certain that Mr Livingstone will come first in the ballot - despite the best efforts of Downing Street to back Mr Dobson, Tony Blair's own choice.

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