Dobson turns attention to the battle for second place

Frank Dobson has given the clearest indication yet that he accepts he cannot beat Ken Livingstone outright in the race to become London mayor.

After weeks of attacks on the former GLC leader's policies, Mr Dobson turned his guns on his Tory rival, Steven Norris, last night in an attempt to secure second place in the race.

If no candidate wins more than 50 per cent of the votes, the second preferences of voters whose first choice candidates came third, fourth or fifth will be redistributed. If Mr Dobson cannot beat Mr Norris to second place, he will be out of the race. If he comes second to Mr Livingstone, he will have to rely on the second preferences of voters who supported the Tory.

In his attack on Mr Norris, Mr Dobson held a press conference with survivors of the Marchioness disaster and relatives of some of the 51 people who died when the pleasure boat was hit by a dredger in the Thames in August 1989.

The Tory candidate, who was a transport minister from 1992 to 1996, chose not to hold an inquiry into the accident.

Ministers under the last government were criticised by a later inquiry under Lord Justice Clarke, completed this year, for not making public thefindings of inspectors on the accident. "I welcomed the publication of Lord Justice Clarke's report. This included the establishment of a full public inquiry into the Marchioness disaster, which had been refused by the previous Tory government," Mr Dobson said.

He promised an urgent assessment of life-saving equipment on the Thames river bank to help ensure such a tragedy could never be repeated.

However, he denied he was campaigning for second place. "We are in a battle with a Tory candidate for mayor which is where we have always been."

A spokesman for Mr Norris said: "We knew Frank Dobson was desperate but we did not think he was desperate enough to use the Marchioness tragedy in an attempt to win political points to support his now-failed campaign."

Mr Norris said earlier yesterday that he expected to win at least second place in the race, so his voters would not need to worry about who to put second on their ballot slips.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Engineers / Senior Electronics Engineers

£25000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in Henley-on-Thames, this...

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project