Blair launches fight against Livingstone

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair took one of the biggest political gambles of his life yesterday as Ken Livingstone was finally allowed on to Labour's shortlist for the mayor of London. The former GLC leader joined Frank Dobson and Glenda Jackson on the list after agreeing to a "loyalty pledge" to abide by Labour's manifesto for the capital.

Tony Blair took one of the biggest political gambles of his life yesterday as Ken Livingstone was finally allowed on to Labour's shortlist for the mayor of London. The former GLC leader joined Frank Dobson and Glenda Jackson on the list after agreeing to a "loyalty pledge" to abide by Labour's manifesto for the capital.

But the Prime Minister began an onslaught against Mr Livingstone by vowing to fight until "my last breath" to prevent Labour from returning to the extremism of the 1980s.

He said: "I am going to go out and fight for ... a Labour Party that can govern the country. The old Labour Party back in those times led to 18 years of undisputed Conservative rule."

After months of speculation, the way is now open for the maverick MP to become the party's official choice for the battle against Lord Archerof Weston-super-Mare next May. The decision not to block him was taken after a four-hour interview with the selection board at Labour's HQ. Mr Livingstone said the panel backed down over a promise to agree to John Prescott's plans for funding the Underground.

"He stood eyeball to eyeball with Millbank and they blinked," was how the Livingstone camp described the meeting.

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