Poll boost for Livingston after 'dirty tricks' play part in first major setback

A massive poll lead has boosted Ken Livingstone's bid to become Mayor for London, after he suffered his first major setback last night.

Mr Livingstone was condemned by the MPs' disciplinary committee for failing to declare £158,000 in outside earnings.

The MP has agreed to make a public apology to the Commons in relation to the claims.

But more encouragingly, the poll in the Evening Standard newspaper shows that he remains on course to crush Labour's Frank Dobson.

Mr Livingstone commands 61 per cent support, with Mr Dobson on 16 per cent, Tory Steve Norris on 13 per cent and Liberal Democrat Susan Kramer on 8 per cent.

Mr Livingstone's lead of 45 per cent is 10 points down from a poll taken on the day he announced he was standing as a candidate. But any lingering Labour hopes that that survey was a freak have been dashed.

Labour had predicted that once campaigning was under way, Mr Dobson's ratings would soar while Mr Livingstone's would plummet.

In fact the ex-Health Secretary's rating has improved only 3 per cent since the poll on March 6 - within the margin of error of most surveys. And since a similar poll on February 20 it has fallen by 6 per cent.

The ICM poll of 1,005 voters across the capital was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday - largely before yesterday's rebuke for Mr Livingstone from the Commons standards and privileges committee for failing to declare more than £158,000 of outside earnings.

But Labour hopes that the affair might severely dent the maverick's campaign suffered when the 300 voters questioned after the news broke still gave Mr Livingstone a high rating for trustworthiness.

Pollsters said their answers were similar to those who did not know of the MPs' censure, with an overall honesty rating for Mr Livingstone of 62 per cent, with only 18 per cent believing him to be dishonest.

Meanwhile counterclaims that Mr Livingstone had been the victim of dirty tricks emerged when the person whose name appeared on a complaint about the MP said he had never written the letter.

The office of Elizabeth Filkin, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, had a call from John Jones of Shepshed in Leicestershire saying he was not involved.

Mr Jones, an associate lecturer at Loughborough University, said: "I got a letter through this morning and all the press started ringing. It's nothing to do with me. I don't know anything about politics."

He said he could not think of any reason why someone would want to lodge a complaint in his name.

Whatever the origin of the complaint, the revelation that the former GLC leader earned up to £2,700 a time for speeches to business audiences was bound to damage his campaign.

Mr Livingstone recently claimed he had just £20,000 in his coffers, and placed a series of newspaper advertisements asking the public to help him raise £500,000 for his independent campaign.

A report by the Committee on Standards and Privileges said Mr Livingstone earned £220,992 on top of his MP's salary between June 1998 and February 2000.

Of that, £158,599 should have been declared in the Register of Members' Interests because it related to his Parliamentary work.

Mr Livingstone breached the rules of registration and failed to observe the principle of openness which the Code of Conduct for MPs required, the committee said. He should make an apology to the House of Commons by means of a personal statement.

Mr Livingstone's register entry did not list his two newspaper columns, one of which appears in The Independent, his links with eight public speaking agencies, his other media work or a recent book contract.

Instead, it said he was a director of Localaction, a firm set up to cover the publication of Socialist Economic Bulletin, which the MP runs, along with other writing and media work.

Mr Livingstone said he had given more than 40 paid speeches in the past year, mostly to business audiences.

The committee's acting chairman, Alan Williams, said the MP's declaration had fallen short of the required standard. "It was out of date because he had taken on work we described as commercially significant speaking engagements at very substantial fees since he made his initial entry," he said. Mr Livingstone said last night that he had made the entry in 1996 after consulting the then commissioner, Sir Gordon Downey.

At that time, his earnings were between £20,000 and £30,000 but they had since increased by a factor of 10. But the complaint would not damage his campaign," he said.

"I think most people know there's going to be a lot of dirt in the campaign and there is going to be worse to come. I don't believe anyone thinks there would be this brouhaha if I wasn't standing for Mayor".

Bernard Jenkin, the Shadow London Minister, said: "As Ken Livingstone has said he is in favour of a 'greedy bastard tax' and that he favours higher taxes on those earning over £50,000, there is nothing to stop him making a voluntary donation to the Exchequer."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Sport
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
i100
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam