Alan Sugar, one of the U.K. Labour Party’s best-known supporters, urged voters not to support its candidate for London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, at next month’s election.
Sugar, who stars in the British version of “The Apprentice” reality television series and was given a seat in the House of Lords by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, made the comments today on his verified Twitter Inc. account. His spokesman, Andrew Bloch, confirmed they were genuine.
The Amshold Group Ltd. chairman, who made his fortune selling consumer electronics, gave more than 69,000 pounds ($111,000) to Labour last year, including donating directly to leader Ed Miliband’s office, according to the Electoral Commission. That made him one of the party’s most generous individual supporters.
“Livingstone must NOT get in,” Sugar, 65, wrote. “I don’t care if Ed Miliband is backing Livingstone. I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingstone in the mayoral elections.”
While Sugar did not explicitly endorse incumbent Mayor Boris Johnson, his comments will help the Conservative, who is seeking re-election on May 3.
Johnson had 53 percent support compared with 47 percent for Livingstone in a choice between the two, according to a ComRes Ltd. poll published in the Evening Standard newspaper April 10.
Livingstone was the first person to win election as mayor when the post was established in 2000 and had the job for two terms before losing to Johnson in 2008.
The race has been dominated recently by a dispute in a broadcast debate on April 3 in which Johnson accused Livingstone of being a liar as they argued over whether either had avoided tax.