Art auction to fund Ken’s mayoral bid

Ken Livingstone is to sell pieces of art donated by more than 20 artists to fund his campaign to be re-elected mayor of London.

The mayor will host an auction in March as he officially launches his bid to be returned to City Hall for a third term.

Elusive street artist Banksy, who counts several celebrities among his cult following and whose work has sold for more than £300,000 at past auctions, is among those donating to the event.

Pieces from Antony Gormley, Turner prize winner Jeremy Deller and Marc Quinn, who sculpted a pregnant Alison Lapper for the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square, will also be offered at the auction at the Aquariam Gallery in Farringdon.

Mr Livingstone explained why an art sale was an appropriate funding drive for his mayoral election campaign.

He said: “London is a city where the arts flourish. Artists in all fields make a central contribution to how we see our city and our society as a whole.”

Mr Gormley added that “art is always political”.

Campaigning for May’s mayoral election does not officially begin for another two months but Mr Livingstone has already gone strongly on the offensive against Conservative MP Boris Johnson, likely to be his closest rival.