“we believe that there is a real risk that the re-interview process will not be conducted in an equitable and non-discriminatory manner” – and group threatens to call for campaign ‘strike’ if party interferes
The Labour Black Socialists group has called on Labour not to interfere in Anna Rothery’s prospects of becoming Labour’s candidate for Liverpool’s executive mayoral election in May – expressing “shock and dismay” at the party’s decision to delay the process to delay voting re-interview the three candidates before ballots are sent out to the city’s Labour members.
The party has not explained the delay. Although one reason for the interviews, revealed by SKWAWKBOX, is concern over the ties of Ann O’Byrne to a council company criticised in a report for its unaccounted cash dealings and loans to businesses connected with the company’s directors – including £20,000 to one organisation to employ O’Byrne’s daughter – supporters of Anna Rothery fear that Labour’s machine will also use the process to end or tarnish her campaign after she expressed support for former leader Jeremy Corbyn.
A spokesperson for the group told SKWAWKBOX:
As Labour Black Socialists we are shocked and dismayed at the announcement from the Labour party delaying the ballots for the selection of its candidate in the Liverpool Mayoral election and the re-interviewing of all three shortlisted prospective candidates. There has been no explanation from the party why it has taken such measures and it has been revealed one of the candidates is under scrutiny. We believe that prospective candidates of good standing should not have to go through the interview again as this could be seen as prejudicial and discriminatory.
The ballots were due to come out on Tuesday 16th February, but they’re now arriving on Monday the 22nd February. The delay and re-interviews are felt by many members to be a demoralising bureaucratic obstruction imposed for partisan political purposes and not in a spirit of fairness and transparency.
Many Black, Asian and other ethnic minority heritage members – and ordinary Labour members in general – see this as an intimidating move by the Labour leadership.
We have specific concerns that Ann Rothery, the only Black candidate for the Mayoral selection, is under threat from the party because she is seen as a socialist whose concerns for the community are unimportant and out of line with the priorities of the Labour leadership, which we feel to be misguided and divisive.
As Labour Black Socialists we believe that there is a real risk that the re-interview process will not be conducted in an equitable and non-discriminatory manner. Should this transpire we stand ready to support our comrades in the Liverpool Labour Party and the communities they represent. In line with our Campaign for an Actively Antiracist Labour Party, this could include calling for the withdrawal of support from the Labour campaign for Liverpool Mayor.
No candidate should be subjected to this degree of uncertainty and disruption to their campaign and the negative impact on confidence and unity that these delays have clearly created.
We remind the Labour Party and its leadership of their obligation to run an equal and fair selection process.
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