Ken and Glenda compile `dirty tricks' election dossier

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The Independent Online
KEN LIVINGSTONE and Glenda Jackson have joined forces to produce a "dossier of deceit" attacking Labour's handling of its internal contest for a London mayoral candidate.

The document is to be presented to the election scrutineer later this week and will allege that the party hierarchy has repeatedly breached the rules to "rig" the contest in favour of Tony Blair's favoured candidate, Frank Dobson, the former Secretary of State for Health.

Following an incident last week in which a member of Mr Dobson's campaign team "boasted" that access to party lists had given their side an advantage, Ms Jackson and Mr Livingstone - competitors in the race to become the Labour candidate in May's mayoral elections in London - decided to lodge a formal complaint.

They will allege in the document that Labour has breached election rules by allowing Mr Dobson access to centrally-held party membership lists. They also claim that the Dobson camp has been given an advantage by being able to use party resources, including offices.

A spokesman for Ms Jackson's campaign said last night: "This is a course of action we take very reluctantly, but it has become quite clear over this week that the rules are continually being flouted and that now ... people are actually bragging about the way the rules are being broken."

The Labour Party was also under fire from the Tories for proposing that candidates in the forthcoming mayoral and London Assembly elections should not receive a free mailshot sent to all five million voters. The move is seen as an attempt to scupper Mr Livingstone's campaign, should he opt to run as an independent.

Bernard Jenkin, the Shadow Minister for London, said last night: "This is blatant ballot rigging by Labour. It is a cynical attempt by Labour to punish Red Ken if he runs as an independent and to damage other parties too."

A spokesman for the Labour party denied last night that there had been any favouritism from the party. "This is just a rehashing of an old complaint which we have already replied to. Millbank has not given a membership list to Mr Dobson. He received it from an MEP who held it legitimately, and who was within his rights to give it to Mr Dobson," he said.

"We also think this whole debate about the process is a red herring," he added.

"We've offered all the candidates a mail shot and it is unfair to say Millbank is biased towards one candidate or another."