Health secretary Frank Dobson finally bowed to pressure this week and allowed his parliamentary private secretary, Ann Keen, to confirm that he will seek the Labour nomination for mayor of London.

He says he wants to continue as health secretary until the nomination process has been completed. Labour's national executive committee is expected to confirm the selection process next week.

If Mr Dobson was selected and won the job as London's first directly elected mayor, he is unlikely to face a drop in salary. He draws a total of£94,157 as an MP and a Cabinet minister.

The senior salaries review body is examining pay for the London mayor and members of the Greater London Assembly.

It will take account of salaries paid to first ministers of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, currently£111,316 and£94,000, respectively.