Analysis

Liverpool MPs hammered for failure to show solidarity with Rothery – and calling for system that would deprive members of a say in city leadership

MPs’ tweeted statements attacked, including damning responses from Merseyside BLM Alliance and Liverpool City Region Black Action

Cllr Anna Rothery

Two Liverpool MPs have been heavily criticised for lack of solidarity and a readiness to deprive local members of a say in who leads the city, after both released similar statements on Twitter in response to the scandal of Labour’s decision to bar all three shortlisted women candidates from the selection to represent the party in May’s mayoral election. The party has given no reason for its decision, inflicting enormous reputational damage on the women and triggering fury among members.

Highly popular left-winger and front-runner Anna Rothery was among those blocked. Rothery would have become the UK’s first black woman mayor if selected and elected and is seeking a legal injunction to prevent the party blocking her from the selection contest. Labour, meanwhile, was said to be looking to tie up the selection in favour of ‘centrist’ former MEP Theresa Griffin, although Griffin has since claimed she is not standing.

Wavertree MP Paula Barker put out a statement in which she said she was in solidarity with the candidates, but failed to condemn the decision to bar them – and she capped her comment by calling for a return to the old ‘council leader and cabinet’, in which Labour members in the city had no say in who was its political leader:

Click here for the full statement

The reaction to Barker’s tweet was overwhelmingly critical, with a number of comments on the similarity :

The statement of Riverside MP Kim Johnson, the city’s only black parliamentarian, avoided mention of solidarity and echoed Barker’s call for a return to the mayoral model:

Johnson’s tweet garnered even more criticism, including comments asking how, if she was unaware of the reasons for the barring of the candidates, she could claim to know racism wasn’t involved in the decision concerning Rothery – and from black people objecting that her dismissal of racism did not speak for them:

Two local groups for black people responded with their view that racism was intrinsic to the decision to block Rothery’s candidacy. Black Lives Matter Alliance Merseyside put out a statement – co-signed by more than two dozen other groups – saying that the decision showed that Labour is the other side of the same coin as Tory racism:

Liverpool City Region Black Action tweeted a statement that took aim at Johnson’s claim that the city’s Black population would all take the same view as her that there was no racism involved:

And well-known author and activist Alan Gibbons put out a number of tweets pointing out that a return to the old model of a leader elected only by councillors would leave thousands of Labour members in the city without any say in who represented them as leader of the city:

Others believed that the MPs’ statements were influenced by their nearness to those they believe were involved in the move to bar the shortlisted candidates, or their preference for one of her rivals:

Meanwhile, at least one supporter of Kim Johnson, who also supports a different candidate for mayor and close to her daughter, has tweeted accusing those who criticised Johnson – who included black women – of racism and misogyny:

Both MPs were contacted for comment but did not respond by the time of publication.

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33 comments

  1. Given that both Theresa Griffin and Frank McKenna have ruled themselves out does anyone know who has put themselves forward?

    1. Why does it matter who? We already know they’ll impose Griffin as candidate, and they don’t care if this guarantees a massive Labour defeat in the mayoral race. Why are you still trying to distract and divert by asking these pointless, meaningless questions?

      1. kenburch – Wake Up!
        Theresa Griffin has ruled herself out.

      2. Disregard that- hadn’t heard Griffin had ruled herself out. Nonetheless, her withdrawal can only mean it will be another imposed right-wing failure. Starmer is deliberately losing the Liverpool mayor’s race, for no other reason than his absurd obsession with purging the Left. As a socialist city, it goes without saying Liverpool would never vote for a nonsocialist imposed as the Labour candidate, and that such a candidate could never be capable of fighting for the people of Liverpool or of having any valid ideas for making the city in any way better. A centrist would probably back something daft like trying to attract a Summer Olympics or some other money pit.

    2. If not them, we can assume Starmer will insist it be someone exactly like them, or even further right. His dream candidate now would probably be a readmitted Luciana Berger- who would devote her entire campaign to carrying on the AS Smear against Corbyn.

      1. kenburch – I may be wrong but currently Liverpool members don’t seem to have much choice in the matter, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

      2. That’s exactly the point the rest of us have been making- that it was undemocratic to reopen the shortlist and deselect Rothery, the candidate the overwhelming majority of Liverpool Labour members want as their mayoral candidate.

        We’ve been telling you how undemocratic it is the whole time, and you’ve disregarded everything you’ve been told.

        This is the proof, SteveH- this is all the proof that is needed that Starmer’s whole agenda is to reduce Labour to a bland centre party again- even though he knows that doing that will guarantee Labour will never win another election, since the voters don’t WANT Labour to just be the slightly-humane wing of the establishment.

        It’s time for you to face the facts, SteveH- everything everyone here has said to you about Starmer has been vindicated. So can you please stop saying “wait and see” and “what’s the evidence?” and “Corbyn was worse”?

        Corbyn is never GOING to be leader again. The people who have become anti-Starmer aren’t working for a Corbyn Restoration(though it is time for his exile from the PLP needs to end, since he never deserved it). They want a new leader- NOT Corbyn but someone connected to the hundreds of thousands who joined the party to fight for the ideas associated with his tenure, none of which are unpopular- and would, unlike Corbyn, fight back and defend herself when slandered.

        And everything these people warned would happen if Starmer became leader HAS happened. Socialism has been abandoned and huge numbers of socialists have been purged from the party when none of them did anything to deserve it.

        There’s no chance Starmer will change for the better. There’s no chance he will ever stop his purge of the Left- and there’s no way the purge of socialists would not be accompanied by a massive swing to the right on policy- even though there are no issues at all where a swing to the right would gain Labour any votes from anyone.

        If you’re not being paid to defend Keir, you’ve no reason to keep fighting his corner. He has nothing to offer and there is no chance any of what he is doing can elect a Labour government.

        Face reality.

      3. kenburch – “Face reality”

        I am, Corbyn lost 61 seats and for the first time ever more of the working class voted for the Tories than voted for Labour and Jeremy (by a very substantial margin).
        You can speculate all you want but until we know who instigated the halt to the original procedure and why then it will continue to be nothing more than speculation.

      4. kenburch – Have you any thoughts yet on who this new leader that you are pinning your hopes on will be.

  2. If we could only see their latest bank statements I am sure they have received backhanders!
    We all know what the game is here and we all remember Kinnock. Tony Benn was spot on when he realised Labour is finished for people with good intention and good will. We need a new party for all of us to rally around a party that permanently bans all right wing labour MPs LFI etc etc etc. I believe people are becoming extremely tired of the wait.

    1. “We need a new party for all of us to rally around a party that permanently bans all right wing labour MPs LFI etc “

      Last time I looked you were still looking for a leader to coalesce behind, have things changed?

      1. Andrew – Have you been able to answer this question about yourself yet or are you still searching for some meaning in your life.

    2. A few more years of these crooks being in charge and the former people’s party, Labour, will have demeaned itself so much and so completely that it will be ESSENTIAL to form a new party. I propose that we call it the Independent Labour Party and that our Mission Statement is just three words: “To make socialists”.

      Values? Peace, Prosperity and Justice. https://thecorbynproject.com/

      Oooh it’s like the 1890s all over again. Exciting!

      1. qwertboi – I wonder if Jeremy is as enthusiastic about your plans as you are, has anybody asked him?

      2. Steve: Even if he was, Jeremy couldn’t publicly express any such enthusiasm, since it would give Keir an actual excuse to expel him from the party once and for all. NO good reason for you to ask trick questions like that.

      3. kenburch – Trick questions, oh dear. Give the silly conspiracy theories a rest.
        Why would he care if he was going to leave the party anyway?

  3. Wow, well, deep breath!

    First thing, Theresa Griffin has said, categorically, she’s not interested in being Mayor of Liverpool.

    Second thing, they’re still there, aren’t they? The old guys and gals(assumed), hankering for the old days. Long story short, I agree with Ian Byrne.

    The Members of all the Liverpool CLP’s are entitled to a say in who will be their nomination for Lord Mayor of the city. That’s democracy, as I understand it, not the cabal behind closed doors, in a smoked-filled room. Those days should be left, firmly, in the past.

    One thing is certain, the Labour nominee won’t be Anna Rothery, nor either of the other two non-nominees. Will any of them stand as Indepentents? That’s what most people are curious about, this evening.

    What’s the news tonight? Anyone heard, anything?

  4. This is disgraceful the three candidates must be told immediately why they were deselected, otherwise this could leave an indelible stain on their characters.

    1. Yes, ‘reasons’ must be demanded and given; then they can be evaluated and, if need be, challenged by members and possibly in the courts. Note the quiescence of the Guardian.

      This is unlikely to end well for Evans and Starmer even if, and perhaps because, they may win in the short term. It appears as though the ‘new management’ has adopted a scorched earth policy: ‘we had to destroy the local party to save it’.

      1. It’s never a good sign when the Labour leadership treats local sections of the party like the US Army treated Vietnamese villages.

      2. kenburch – Do we have any evidence about who’s pulling the strings here, and we still don’t know why the original process was halted.

      3. The reply from Steve H ,tests his sanity. His judgment and credibility are already shot “Do we have any evidence of whos pulling the strings here” Do we really have to put up with this entitled smug crapshoot coming from the mouth of this imbecilic right wing paid troll.How any sane person can listen to this drivel and paid for propaganda coming from HQ is insulting to the Labour party members and the intelligence of the comrades who have to read this monologue of garbage.coming straight from the horses mouth.Truly the most pathetic statement ever “Do we have any evidence of whos pulling the strings” ???

  5. I hope ann rothery goes independent and we get behind her and wins it also goes for the next G/E if their is no new party and starmer is still in place we should be looking for someone who we can get to stand independent in areas where we need to get rid of such people as nandy/phillips/streeting/ashworth/ and the rest of these parasites

    1. Brian – I suspect that Anna will be far better off and do more good where she is. Why would she want to risk what she has for a CW outcome.

      1. Steve H…davidh,SH…right wing paid troll. “Do we have any evidence of whos pulling the strings here” …Sherlock Holmes would be stumped would he?…Candidates sacked by HQ and not allowed stand.??You are off your cowardly misfit trolly…Go on bugger off to bed you’ve been paid enough overtime by the knight for your cowardly drivel.

      2. Joseph – I invited you to show us your evidence above, I’m still waiting.

  6. “show us your evidence” – the last resort of the charlatan.
    Or a bot with a frozen super I/O.

  7. What a complete and utter shit fest !

    The Blair tribute act is in full swing now, only they aren’t singing their own song, they’re miming along to King Tony’s words.

  8. Pretty words no action can sum up far too many so-called socialists they just have a little protest and then go back to silence!!!

    I am sorry I am incensed at how this cult of new Labour is treating the membership, JC the people of Liverpool and a huge list of insults to socialism and they stay members of this cult? WTF!!!

    Nope sorry I have beliefs and an ideology that won’t just ignore this BS and stay silent it’s not how I was brought up. So have some damn respect and say no more!

    Rip up your membership card, stop supporting or assisting this cult and respect yourself and your beliefs!!!

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