Labour Party reopens applications for Liverpool mayoral candidates

The Labour Party has reopened applications for its Liverpool mayoral candidate.

And it is understood to have blocked the three previously shortlisted candidates from applying for the role.

The party suspended the selection process last week and re-interviewed the current candidates, who were acting Mayor Wendy Simon, Cllr Anne O’Byrne, and the city’s current Lord Mayor, Cllr Anne Rothery who became Liverpool’s first black Mayor.

The post has become available following previous mayor Joe Anderson’s arrest last December on suspicion of bribery and witness intimidation. He was on police bail, which Merseyside Police are seeking to extend to August.

Mr Anderson was administratively suspended by Labour following his arrest and he has since stepped aside, acknowledging he will not be standing for this May’s mayoral elections. He said he will focus on clearing his name.

A Labour spokesperson said last week: “The ballot has been paused for a short period to allow time for the candidates to be reinterviewed. Ballot papers will then be issued.”

Now, an email to Labour Party members has stated: “The role of Liverpool Mayor is a high profile and hugely important figure.

“The people of Liverpool deserve a Labour Mayor and the Labour Party needs to select the right candidate who can deliver an election win, stand up against the Conservatives, lead Liverpool out of the coronavirus crisis and fight for the regeneration and the resource that the city desperately needs.

“After careful consideration, the Labour Party has determined that applications for the position should be re-opened in order to allow the Liverpool Labour membership to choose from an alternative shortlist of candidates.”

Nominations for the candidature are now expected to be lodged by February 25. Interviews will be held on March 1, with ballot papers distributed on March 8, followed by the close of the ballot on March 29.

Liverpool Council’s Labour group intends to hold a referendum in 2023 on whether to keep the directly-elected mayoral system, or revert to a council leader and cabinet system, or adopt a committee system.