Sugar tells Ken: You're fired

APPRENTICE star Lord Alan Sugar yesterday waded into the Mayoral elections and told Londoners: don’t vote for Ken Livingstone.

The businessman and Labour peer defied his party leader to tell his 1.8m followers on Twitter: “I don’t care if Ed Miliband is backing Livingstone. I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingstone in the Mayoral elections.”

Sugar did not directly endorse Boris Johnson but implied that a vote for the Conservative candidate was the only way to keep out Livingstone: “Johnston [sic] v Livingstone is real issue. Livingstone must NOT get in on 3rd May.”

His outburst is particularly embarrassing for party bosses because Sugar is one of Labour’s largest individual backers. According to the Electoral Commission he gave around £70,000 to the party last year, including direct payments to Ed Miliband’s office.

The businessman has previously been linked with the Labour mayoral candicacy but yesterday ruled himself out: “It’s been suggested I run for mayor. Not possible, too many commercial conflicts, no time, more to the point I would not know where to start.” The founder of Amstrad conceded that he could not vote in the election because he lived in Essex.

It caps a troubled week for the Livingstone campaign, exacerbated by yesterday’s revelation in City A.M. that the long-term opponent of NHS privitsation himself uses private healthcare providers.