Labour's candidate for London mayor, Frank Dobson, admitted yesterday that he cannot win the 4 May election unless his independent rival, Ken Livingstone, suffers a massive drop in support.
But Mr Dobson insisted that he would "keep battling away" and had not lost hope of overturning Mr Livingstone's lead - consistently running at more than 30 per cent in opinion polls - in the last 11 days of the campaign.
He said the support registered for Mr Livingstone in the polls included an unusually high proportion of voters who were not fully committed to the former Greater London Council chief, and may change their minds or simply not turn out.
Asked about the massive lead the Brent East MP apparently commands, Mr Dobson told GMTV's Sunday Programme: "It has got to slip a long way, I agree."
But he added: "We just keep battling away. I don't think the game's up. I think a lot of the apparent support for Ken is very uncommitted and quite a lot of it won't turn out to vote, and a lot of people who say they support him have got their doubts."
Mr Dobson admitted his campaign had been hampered from the start by the con-troversy surrounding his selection as Labour candidate. "Certainly, all sorts of things went wrong during the selection campaign and that has certainly cost me dear, but there's nothing we can do about that now," he said.