“Delaying ballots & then removing candidates with no explanation smells like a stitch-up to keep left candidates off the ballot.”Momentum
Labour Party and trade union activists in Liverpool have reacted furiously to what has seemed another stich up from Labour HQ over Labour’s selection race to determine its next mayoral candidate in Liverpool.
After suspending the process last week, the Party announced today that the selection is set to reopen after “careful consideration,” and none of the previously shortlisted candidates – Wendy Simon, Ann O’Byrne and Anna Rothery – are going to be invited to join the new process.
On social media, party activists are expressing concern on whether the candidates been given a reason for this decision, which many are also terming unconstitutional and pointing out has come extremely late in the day.
Such concerns have been echoed by leading figures across the Left, with John McDonnell saying to Labour Outlook, “This adds to the growing concerns about democracy in the party and the frustration of party members being denied a say over basic party decisions. It also bodes ill for Parliamentary selections. The local impact in Liverpool electorally for local elections is potentially disastrous.”
A Momentum spokesperson told us, “This is deeply concerning. Delaying ballots and then removing candidates with no explanation smells like a stitch-up to keep left candidates off the ballot.”
In a statement, one of the candidates excluded – Councillor Anna Rothery – said in response to the development “Like many people across our city and our movement, I’m shocked by the Party’s chaotic handling of the selection for Liverpool mayor. Instead of a positive, unifying campaign for our city, we are faced with what looks like an undemocratic failure of process.
“I stood because I know our city needs a socialist mayor to clean up local politics, deliver a local Green New Deal and leave no one behind. I am humbled by the support I have received as someone firmly rooted in our trade unions and community groups, and who wasn’t part of the previous executive.
“I welcomed the deviation last week from the formal NEC process to include more scrutiny of candidates but not to remove transparency and accountability from the process. I hope party HQ sees the outrage its decision has caused across our city and the harm it is doing to our party’s reputation and changes course.
“If the decision stands, then I will be left with no choice but to challenge it legally.”
In a show of support for Anna, Liverpool Walton’s Labour Left MP Dan Carden said on Twitter, “I was proud to endorse Anna Rothery – she deserves fair treatment and transparency from those in the Labour Party who barred her candidacy. The most senior black woman in local government in Liverpool, current Lord Mayor and an outstanding candidate.”
The BFAWU union meanwhile tweeted that “We are extremely concerned and bitterly disappointed with today’s decision to exclude Anna Rothery.. Labour needs to reverse this decision immediately.”