Dobson denies No 10 plans to dump him in mayoral race candidate

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The Independent Online
FRANK DOBSON tried to scotch rumours yesterday that he would be dumped by Downing Street if his campaign to become mayor of London failed to improve.

In an upbeat performance, Mr Dobson laughed off reports being put about by opposing camps that his campaign was so "lacklustre" and lacking in enthusiasm that he was in danger of being ditched.

The former health secretary, who has been accused of being depressed, said the rumours were "so old, they are suffering from repetitive strain injury". But he also took a sideswipe at heavy-handed lobbying tactics by Downing Street early in the campaign to stop Ken Livingstone, his main rival, from running. "Certainly I think some of the things that have happened that really hadn't anything to do with me haven't been of any benefit to me," Mr Dobson said on BBC radio.

Pouring scorn on suggestions that he has struggled to work up any enthusiasm for the contest ,he said he had never regretted giving up his seat in the Cabinet to run for mayor. "I have devoted the whole of my political career to doing things in London.

"I want to be that mayor ... That's a good thing to want to do and it's my ambition and my New Year's resolution to get the job of mayor and then get on with doing it."

Glenda Jackson, the third Labour contender, strongly denied suggestions that her campaign team could have been involved in rumour-mongering.