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Labour approves party staffer accused of ‘concentration camp’ hate speech to fight Byrne for West Derby seat

Anthony Lavelle has been accused of hate-speech and bullying toward disabled woman and contempt for benefit claimants, as well as boasting of drink driving

Labour has approved a right-wing party staffer with a record of alleged hate-speech and bullying to stand against MP of the Year Ian Byrne as the party’s candidate in Liverpool West Derby.

Byrne, who received the award for his extensive work feeding the hungry and fighting to force the government to recognise adequate nutrition as a human right, faces a selection vote within the next month and was told of the decision to ‘trigger’ a contest on the night he was opening a new community kitchen initiative he set up with football legend Robbie Fowler.

Byrne’s supporters have accused the party of rigging the ‘trigger ballot’ to decide whether he would face a challenge – a situation so extreme that even the party official first appointed to oversee it refused to sign off on the so-called ‘result’ because of the extent of the issues witnessed.

But rather than investigate the official’s complaint, the party simply removed him and appointed its London regional office – at the heart of multiple rigging allegations – to control the process instead. Now local right-wing councillor and north-west regional staffer Anthony Lavelle – a failed would-be mayoral candidate – has announced that the party has longlisted him for the seat.

But Lavelle’s track record is already problematic. In March last year, Skwawkbox exclusively revealed that he had been accused by a local disabled woman of persistent bullying and hate-speech. The woman, identified only as Malika, told Skwawkbox that the bullying included ‘jokes’ about concentration camps and leukaemia, wishing her dead, humiliating her in front of others and deriding her as a benefits scrounger – and also boasted of drink driving:

My name is Malika and I was a classmate of Anthony Lavelle in Liverpool Hope university during 2013-2016. He is currently a councillor for Croxteth in Liverpool and is a candidate for the Labour Party to become Liverpool mayor. Below are experiences I experienced with Anthony or that I have personally witnessed:

a. Made derogatory comments about my disabilities
b. Made comments suggesting I was using crutches to scrounge benefits
c. Called me a mistake and wished me dead
d. Always called me out in front of our peers on my disabilities when I was wearing a splint/ support or limping.
e. Demeaned disabled sports making negative comments about the paralympics
f. Bragged about drink driving. I also have witnessed him doing so
g. Refused to clean up after himself stating it was the cleaners job
h. Was constantly forward with female peers who were obviously uncomfortable
i. Made leukaemia and concentration camp jokes

Malika added that Lavelle’s attacks had broken down her mental health:

I made a report to the uni on 2nd February 2016 after I felt at breaking point. I was uncomfortable and fearful. I was stigmatised and singled out made to feel ashamed over my disabilities. Shortly after this i was hospitalised due to mental health. The stress Anthony Lavelle subjected me to was a leading contributing factor. I dont believe he should be allowed to stand for mayor holding these views.

His beliefs and views are not in line with the Labour parties disability manifesto which I think is more than reason enough he should not be eligible to stand for mayor.

I am happy for my story to be shared. I dont [sic] think it’s right that a bully is able to have access to the position he has.

He called me a mistake’

Malika went on to give more detail:

One individual has been the main culprit of making me feel bad about myself. His name is Anthony Lavelle. Usually I face his abusive and offensive language head on and I try not to let it affect me. However, on Tuesday 2nd February he made comments about me being in crutches to only claim benefits and making comments on how I must be scrounging off the social.

He was laughing at me with his friends. This is one of many derogatory comments he has made, he has called me a mistake, he has wished me dead and he always calls me out in front of everyone on my disability like if I have to wear a splint or support or if I am limping.

He makes offensive comments about a lot of people not just me and other people are beginning to feel uncomfortable by his [redacted] comments.

This behaviour is making me feel vulnerable, uncomfortable and depressed and it is making it really hard for me to come to class or enjoy university.

Lavelle did not respond to requests for comment at the time or since, nor did the party’s then-regional director and Lavelle was allowed to participate in the city’s mayoral selection, losing to the twice-bankrupt Joanne Anderson.

Cllr Lavelle’s longlisting appears to form part of a pattern on the part of Labour’s right-wing regime, which has been accused of threats, intimidation and gross abuses of democracy in its eagerness to remove left-wing MPs – and a ‘blind eye’ toward the history of favoured right-wing replacements. In Ilford South, Sam Tarry was ousted by local council leader Jas Athwal, let off by the Starmer’s party against the advice of Labour’s own barrister, despite allegations of extremely serious sexual assault.

Byrne, by contrast, has been attacked by the Labour right for being ‘too focused on poverty’ and not willing enough to schmooze privileged members.

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