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LIVINGSTONE VOWS TO TOE PARTY LINE IN MAYORAL CONTEST AND ARCHER STILL ON TARGET TORY NOMINATION

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Left-wing MP Ken Livingstone has made a peace offer to Labour party officials in the hope of clearing the way to be...
Left-wing MP Ken Livingstone has made a peace offer to Labour party officials in the hope of clearing the way to becoming the first elected mayor of London, according to The Observer (p12).

The newspaper says he has held secret talks with senior party officials, offering them unconditional control over his election campaign if he is chosen as Labour's candidate. He is understood to have said he will allow party officials to select his campaign manager and team, vet his literature and media appearances and appoint the deputy mayor, if he is elected.

Members of Labour's organisation committee meet today to draw up rules to select candidates for the new London assembly, which will be elected on the same day as the mayor, in May 2000. But they are likely to defer a decision on how to select a candidate for the mayorality.

Labour's candidate is expected to be chosen by a ballot of the 65,000 London party members, but the national executive committee will probably deny Mr Livingstone a place on the short list because of the

high probability he would win. Tony Blair and most cabinet ministers are said to fear that if he was installed in office as mayor, he would use it as a platform to attack the government.

Meanwhile, the Conservative party has decided not to hold an inquiry into Jeffrey Archer's suitability to become a candidate for London's first elected mayor, reported the Financial Times (Jan 16, p5).

Lord Archer will be subject to the same process as any other potential Conservative candidates, initially being filtered down to a shortlist of four by an electoral college.

The Financial Times reports (p7) that London's first directly elected mayor is expected to be paid a salary of between£90,000 and£100,000 a year.

The figure is based on comparisons with pay levels awarded to cabinet ministers and chief executives of the largest local authorities.

The bill to set up the Greater London Authority begins its passage through parliament tomorrow. A government amendment will ensure money raised from off-street parking and traffic congestion will be spent on improving the transport system for at least ten years.

Ministers are still deciding whether to house the new council in a modern building designed by Norman Foster on the Thames opposite the Tower of London or in Victoria House, Bloomsbury.

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