Croydon’s bid to gain city status has been dealt a blow after the Prime Minister threw his weight behind rival Reading yesterday.

The borough hopes to be named London’s third city during the Queen’s Jubilee year in 2012, following unsuccessful bids in 2000 and 2002.

Only one English town was chosen to receive city status during the last contest in 2002, with parallel competitions choosing winners for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Gordon Brown’s announcement puts him directly at odds with London Mayor Boris Johnson, who announced he was backing Croydon’s bid for city status in 2008.