After a difficult week of sparring with the Labour Party, Ken Livingstone's mayoral campaign received a shot in the arm yesterday when Chris Evans pledged his support.
The media millionaire has deserted Tony Blair to back the party's least favourite candidate. Chris Evans, 33, was said to have offered Ken Livingstone's campaign "at least £100,000" at a private meeting with the Brent East MP.
Yesterday, Mr Livingstone was coy about the financial aspects of the deal but said that he was "delighted" by Evans' public support. "I was on the TFI Friday programme a couple of weeks ago and had a lot of fun. [But] you will have to talk to him about all his financial arrangements."
Evans, who recently made £75m out of the £225m sale of Ginger Media Group, joins a host of former New Labour celebrities - such as Damon Albarn of Blur, Fatboy Slim and the Chemical Brothers - to pledge their allegiance to the independent candidate.
The broadcasting entrepreneur was said to be unperturbed by the possibility of being shunned by the party for publicly supporting Livingstone.
"Ken's got charisma. He is London. He's a leader. I like Frank Dobson a lot but he is not a leader," he was reported to have said, adding: "I'm a massive Labour supporter, but I think they've made a mistake not giving Ken the ticket. Frank will never be the real mayor of London. To make that appointment was silly, not so much how they did it but to do it at all."
The radio presenter's vast funds will provide a boost to Mr Livingstone, who recently appealed in the London Evening Standard for money. It was later revealed that the MP had earned £220,000 on top of his salary over the past 18 months.