Livingstone hires PR ‘unknown' for re-election bid

Under-fire London Mayor Ken Livingstone is using a relative unknown to handle media around his re-election campaign, it emerged this week.

Victoria Collins started as press manager for Livingstone's campaign this month and will coordinate the mayor's comms in advance of May's election. Collins has ruffled feathers early on in her new role, recently appearing in the Evening Standard's City Spy column accused of stopping journalists from questioning Livingstone at a press event.

Collins is working in conjunction with Labour's senior comms officer for London, Phil Dilks, who described this post as 26-year-old Collins' first press officer role. She has moved to Labour Party HQ from the Cabinet Office, where she worked as part of the COI's media monitoring unit.

Livingstone is currently emb­roiled in a row with Channel 4 over this week's Dispatches programme, which investigated the cost of the mayor's marketing strategy and the perceived lack of checks and balances in his policymaking.

Livingstone's campaign took a further hit this week when race aide Rosemary Emodi resigned following lies about her connections to a City Hall-backed project in Nigeria.

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