Dobson will join contest to choose Mayor of London

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FRANK DOBSON will definitely put his name forward as Labour nominee for Mayor of London, his closest parliamentary aide confirmed yesterday.

FRANK DOBSON will definitely put his name forward as Labour nominee for Mayor of London, his closest parliamentary aide confirmed yesterday.

The Health Secretary's parliamentary private secretary, Ann Keen, said the 59-year-old Holborn and St Pancras MP would announce his candidacy soon. Ms Keen said that Mr Dobson had decided to run for the post following a "big response" from Labour Party members in London, MPs and the trade unions.

Her comments came as speculation mounted about the precise timing of Mr Dobson's candidature, with some Labour insiders believing he may make a public statement at the end of this week. It is understood that the MP would be allowed to remain Health Secretary during the Labour selection process, due to end in early November.

Ms Keen said that the selection of Jeffrey Archer as Tory nominee had also convinced him that Labour needed a "heavyweight" candidate of its own. "Frank, as you know is very much his own man, but he had a big response at the Labour Party conference and prior to conference from different members of the party in London, MPs and trade unionists, right across a very broad section of people who have been asking him to put his name forward," she told Radio 4's The World At One.

Later, Ms Keen's office added: "He has formally said he will be standing [for mayor], but he won't be stepping down as Health Secretary yet until he has spoken to his constituency and the Labour Party first."

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