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LABOUR PANEL FAILS TO AGREE ON LIVINGSTONE'S MAYORAL BID

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The Labour Party's efforts to select a candidate for London mayor are continuing to make headlines after talks on w...
The Labour Party's efforts to select a candidate for London mayor are continuing to make headlines after talks on whether Ken Livingstone should be allowed on a shortlist broke up without agreement last night.

The Financial Times (p1) reports that the decision to adjourn the selection procedure raises speculation that Mr Livingstone will be blocked when the panel reconvenes tomorrow.

After almost 12 hours of interviews and deliberations, the panel said Mr Livingstone had failed to convince them he would sign up to an as-yet unwritten London manifesto.

Panel members said thet were disconcerted that Mr Livingstone seemed to suggest he would stand down at a later stage - even if he were the official Labour candidate - if parts of the manifesto were not to his liking.

Officials denied it was Mr Livingstone's opposition to government plans to partly privatise London Underground that had casued concern.

'This is not about transport. It is about the principle of signing up to a manifesto,' said one official.

During his interview, Mr Livingstone refused to back plans for a public-private partnership. He said he would 'never budge' from his plans to keep the Tube in the public sector.

According to The Guardian (p1) Mr Livingstone's hope to become Labour's official candidate is now a lost cause.

The party has taken the view that it would be preferable to have him stand as an independent rather than face the prospect of him becoming Labour London mayor and an alternative power base to Mr Blair.

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