Dobson campaign starts the hard sell

Frank Dobson will seek to shift his campaign to become mayor of London into a higher gear today with the launch of his election slogan and advertising campaign.

The campaign for the former health secretary, who is trailing the independent candidate, Ken Livingstone, in the polls, will use the slogan "Frank and to the point". Devised by the leading advertising agency TBWA, the campaign is intended to capitalise on Mr Dobson's reputation as a straight talker.

Mr Dobson will also spell out his transport agenda, issuing challenges to the Government, London Underground and the other mayoral candidates about the likely impact of their policies.

However, Mr Livingstone's quest for the mayoralty is due to receive a financial boost today when works by some of Britain's best-known artists are auctioned to raise money for the Brent East MP's campaign. Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst are among those said to have donated works for the private sale, which is to be held at the London gallery Gimpel Fils. Bidding for the Hirst painting, Beautiful Butterbomb, is expected to top £40,000.

Mr Livingstone criticised the Labour candidate yesterday over the issue of Tube modernisation. He claimed that of the main candidates, only Mr Dobson had not been prepared to say that decisions about funding modernisation should be taken at London level rather than by central government.

Today also marks the closing day for nominations for the election. Mr Livingstone is understood to have submitted his papers last week, an act that automatically sealed his expulsion from the Labour Party for standing against its official candidate. Any party member who signed his nomination papers also faces expulsion. His campaign headquarters have declined to say who did so.

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