Labour brings sewer-campaigning to Liverpool with disgusting attack leaflet against left-wing independent

Local Sam Gorst must have Labour worried in new Garston ward – where none of their candidates live in the ward

The Labour party has brought it’s disgraceful sewer-level campaigning tactics to Liverpool, mounting a frankly disgusting assault on south Liverpool councillor Sam Gorst, who is standing as an independent in the new Garston ward in the first city-wide local elections since Tory commissioners reconfigured the local ward boundaries and councillor numbers.

Gorst, who is standing for the Liverpool Community Independents group of councillors who quit Labour in disgust at the party’s eager collusion with the Tory-imposed commissioners and their punitive budget cuts, is currently a councillor in the Cressington area of Garston and was a prominent supporter of Jeremy Corbyn during Corbyn’s leadership, as well as a supporter of human rights for Palestinians. As such, he has frequently been the target of shameful smears from the Labour right – which is now trying to weaponise the history of those smears against him again.

A leaflet posted through doors in Garston says nothing about Labour policies, instead mounting an all-out assault only on Gorst, making insinuations about his home circumstances, his decision to vote against the Labour council’s Tory-supported slash-and-burn budget, claiming he was ‘investigated for antisemitism’ – it can’t say he was found to be antisemitic – and even attacking him for criticising the queen, while itself misspelling her name:

The leaflet even attacks Gorst, who is from the working-class part of Garston, for representing ‘leafy’ Cressington, which is part of the Garston area, for wanting votes from Garston residents – a stretch when one of Labour’s candidates is a barrister who is unlikely to be unfamiliar with ‘leafy’ residential areas.

McLean’s fellow candidate Sharon Connor, for her part, is a sitting Hunts Cross councillor who featured in the recent scandal of Liverpool councillors having parking tickets cancelled.

The ‘imprint’ of the document shows that it is an official Labour document, promoted by a former LibDem councillor who defected to Labour on behalf of the two Labour-right candidates:

Hypocritically, Lynnie Hinnigan is also a councillor in ‘leafy’ Cressington – and stepped down as deputy mayor in 2020 after she was exposed holding a party during lockdown.

Labour has refused to apologise or condemn the leaflet.

The leaflet comes hard on the heels of the nationwide scandal of Labour’s racist, untrue and hypocritical attacks on Tory PM Rishi Sunak. Sunak’s record gives no shortage of scope for legitimate political attack, yet Labour decided to exploit abused children to smear him.

Earlier this month Richard McLean, one of the Labour candidates, also attacked Gorst – a single father – on Twitter for failing to attend a council meeting. Gorst explained that he had stayed home to look after his sick children, but at the time of writing McLean had not deleted his post:

McLean’s badly ‘ratioed’ tweet and Gorst’s response

The appalling leaflet, which suggests Gorst and his fellow independent candidate Lucy Williams have Labour seriously worried, appears to be timed to affect the votes of postal voters in the area. However, it risks blowing up in Labour’s face, as the people of the working-class area have a deep-rooted dislike of sneaks and smears – and are likely to applaud Gorst’s and his colleagues’ stand against the cuts that are blighting poorer areas of the city most.

The ‘Liverpool 47‘ – the group of councillors who refused to vote for Thatcher’s punitive cuts in the city during the 1980s – are rightly lionised on Merseyside as simply ‘the 47’, a symbol of resistance to the right’s hatred for England’s politically-reddest city. Harking back to them as a negative shows how deaf and blind the Labour right is to the realities and communal memory of the city and places like Garston especially.

The party has even more reason to worry, given that its national leader has written for the S*n – hated and boycotted across Merseyside for its decades of smears against Hillsborough victims, survivors and their families and has said he will continue to do so. For a flavour of what the city thinks of him, watch this video.

Alan Gibbons, the acting leader of the Liverpool Community Independents group, told Skwawkbox:

Hot on the heels of its now infamous attack ad accusing Tory leader Rishi Sunak of not wanting to prosecute child abuse offenders, Liverpool Labour has copied the parent party by descending into the gutter.

Three of its candidates have produced a ‘Garston Residents News’ broadsheet making scurrilous accusations against Liverpool Community Independent candidate Sam Gorst, running alongside Lucy Williams for Garston ward.

In. sign that the party is worried that its record of bad governance, waste and alleged corruption will damage its fortunes, it has chosen to attack Sam in the most unpleasant, potentially libellous and offensive terms. The smear sheet has not even appeared under the Labour banner, but the names on the imprint are Labour’s Garston candidates Sharon Connor and Rich McLean and Belle Vale candidate Linnie Hinnigan.

Labour’s claim to localism is risible. Not one of these three Labour candidates lives in Garston, making nonsense of the ‘Garston Residents News’ heading.

The scandal sheet is a mess of tabloid-style smears including a baseless and false accusation about Sam’s housing.

Labour has prioritised Garston ward, whipping up to thirty-plus councillors to try to unseat one of the best young councillors in the city and prevent Sam and running partner Lucy Williams winning the seat.

The Liverpool Community Independents’ acting leader Alan Gibbons condemned Labour’s retreat into an ugly attempt at character assassination.

He said: “Labour should feel thoroughly ashamed of this newsletter. The party doesn’t even have the guts to produce it under its own name. Labour knows it is on the run in Garston because of its record of bad governance and failure in our city and neglect of residents in the ward.

Skwawkbox contacted Linnie Hinnigan and Sharon Connor for comment, but was unable to reach Richard McLean. No responses had been received by the time of publication. The Liverpool Community Independents group says it is contacting police over the leaflet.

If you live in Garston, make sure to vote for Gorst and Willams and if you live within reach and can help campaign for them, contact Liverpool Community Independents to discuss.

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