Prescott refused to appear at rally with Dobson

Frank Dobson's campaign for the London mayoralty suffered a fresh setback yesterday with the disclosure that John Prescott had refused to share a platform with him.

The Deputy Prime Minister shocked Labour officials when he bluntly turned down their pleas for him to appear alongside Mr Dobson and Tony Blair at a party rally last month. His refusal scuppered plans to give the prime ministerial seal of approval to Mr Dobson's campaign in the final stages of his Labour selection fight against Ken Livingstone.

The former health secretary had been lined up to appear for the first time with Mr Blair and Mr Prescott at a rally in west London, the last and biggest of a series of meetings with party members. But party insiders have said that the Deputy Prime Minister balked at the idea and threatened to pull out of the event if Labour's Millbank headquarters insisted on putting Mr Dobson on the platform.

A senior Labour source said yesterday: "John Prescott would simply not do it with Frank. Rather than go ahead without John, it was decided to do it without Frank. Frank was left grinding his teeth and pulling his remaining hair out."

Mr Prescott has always made clear that he would have preferred either Nick Raynsford or Glenda Jackson, both of whom were loyal ministers in his Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Mr Raynsford, who lauched his own campaign during the Labour Party conference, was assured by Mr Dobson he would not run. Yet within days, Mr Dobson had declared and Mr Raynsford was forced to quit and back him.

The Deputy Prime Minister is understood to have insisted the appearance of Mr Dobson at the question-and-answer session with London party members would have been unfair to the other candidates. Mr Dobson was furious at the snub and Mr Blair had to pacify him with a photocall the day after the meeting. Mo Mowlam was also drafted in for the photo opportunity to stem stories suggesting she would replace him as a candidate.

The revelation follows speculation that the leadership is convinced of a victory by Ken Livingstone and is deserting Mr Dobson ahead of the May election. Despite pleas from the official Labour candidate, Mr Blair has so far refused to get actively involved in backing him. "Frank does feel let down. He doesn't feel the leadership is supporting him enough," said one ally.

Downing Street said this week that the Prime Minister would not take a high-profile role in the mayoral campaign, but insisted he would appear at some point with Mr Dobson. Mr Blair still has no dates in his diary for a joint appearance.

News of Mr Prescott's snub again distracted attention yesterday from Mr Dobson's attempts to focus on policy issues. He claimed Mr Livingstone's bond-issue plan for the Tube would cost Londoners £2.3bn.

Mr Livingstone launched his official campaign logo, "Ken 4 London", and campaign colour, purple - the one favoured by Roman emperors. The mayoral battle will hot up next week when nomination papers are submitted and manifestos likely to be announced by the main candidates.

Labour launched a new attack on Mr Livingstone's finances when an MP complained to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards that he had failed to declare his links with two after-dinner speaking agencies.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Senior Application Support -Fidessa, Charles River, Oracle, FIX

£50000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Application Support - Fide...

Product Specialist - (Application Support, UNIX, SQL)

£45000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Product Specialist - (Application...

Technical Specialist - (Application Support, UNIX, SQL)

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Specialist - (Applicati...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home