Now Dobson hits out at 'cost of Ken' in billboard blitz

Labour stepped up its attacks on Ken Livingstone yesterday with a warning that he would double council taxes in London and impose £300-a-month congestion charges on motorists.

The claims came as the former Greater London Council leader said he felt the race for mayor of London was much closer than opinion polls suggested and he would need every vote he could get to defeat the party machines.

With just nine days to go until polling day, Labour's official candidate, Frank Dobson, will today roll out the first of 65 election billboards aimed at ramming home the message "Beware the Cost of Ken".

The £50,000 campaign will see the posters placed at key points in the capital until the election on 4 May in a last-ditch attempt to outgun the smaller Livingstone campaign.

In a fresh attack on the former Labour MP, Mr Dobson's camp will claim that Mr Livingstone's plans to put conductors back on buses, guards on Tube trains and restore firefighter levels will add £96 to the £113 council tax precept imposed on all Londoners.

Some 5,000 Labour members are now involved in Mr Dobson's campaign, a fact that party officials said yesterday proved momentum was swinging his way.

Millbank is confident that following the strong support of Tony Blair in recent weeks, together with doubts about the cost of the independent candidate, the gap is narrowing in the contest.

Mr Livingstone dismissed suggestions that he would impose a £300-a-month congestion tax on drivers but admitted he did want some form of charge to persuade people to switch to public transport.

Bookmakers this week refused to take any more bets on the Brent East MP becoming mayor, but he was quick to stress that he did not trust the 33-point lead credited to him in a recent opinion poll.

"I don't believe these poll leads at all," he said. "At the end of the day I don't have a party machine. I have always thought it will always be a lot closer race than the polls are saying," he told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme. "On polling day Labour, Tories and Liberals will have thousands of people dragging people out to vote. I will not have that."

Mr Dobson launched his manifesto yesterday with a warning that while some voters wanted to take a "poke" at the Government, the cost of a victory for Mr Livingstone was making them think twice. "This is no time for a punt on a 'fun' candidate. London is too important for that," he said.

Mr Dobson's manifesto rejects Tube privatisation, promises to speed up public transport and pledges no congestion charges in his first term of office. It also promises to reverse the rise in levels of street crime in the capital within two years by recruiting more police officers.

But Mr Livingstone said: "Frank Dobson's campaign is becoming increasingly desperate. The claim that I would increase the tax burden by £300 a month does not have the slightest basis in any policy I have proposed.

"My manifesto clearly states that I would 'consult widely about the best possible congestion charge scheme to discourage unnecessary car journeys in a small zone of central London, to commence during the middle of my term of office', allowing the necessary improvements in the transport system to come first."

Mr Livingstone said he believed that Steven Norris, the Tory candidate, was his closest rival and he wanted to warn Londoners that Mr Norris had backed privatisation of the Underground.

ICM's most recent poll put Mr Livingstone in first place on 49 per cent, with Mr Norris on 16 per cent and Mr Dobson on 15 per cent. A new ICM poll is due later this week.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone