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LIVERPOOL’S Labour councillors have condemned the party’s “disgraceful” behaviour in scrapping its shortlist for the city’s mayoral elections.
They demanded an explanation from the national party leadership over the decision, which one councillor said “should not go unchallenged.”
Labour’s decision to suspend the all-women shortlist has caused fury in Labour ranks across Liverpool and beyond.
The leadership also banned the three candidates – Wendy Simon, Ann O’Byrne and Anna Rothery – from being shortlisted again.
A special meeting of Labour councillors on Saturday demanded transparency over the decision.
They backed a motion acknowledging that “three senior women in the Labour Party” had been removed from the ballot.
The motion says: “How can three senior members, with over 50 years’ service between them, be removed from a process that had followed the Labour Party selection process, with no explanation as to why?
“The candidates, members, and people of Liverpool must have immediate transparency from the party regarding the decision. These decisions must be open to scrutiny and challenge.”
The motion was carried after another proposal – to abolish the position of city mayor and return to a system of governance by cabinet – was defeated by 39 votes to 22.
The three suspended candidates could take legal action against the Labour Party over its actions. Ms Rothery, the city’s lord mayor, said last week that she was considering such action.
Councillor Sarah Morton, who seconded the passed motion, told the Morning Star: “The motion should have been our position all along: to demand from the Labour Party what the reason was for suspending the three women and not let them stand again, and not even having the decency to tell them what was going on.”
The post of mayor became vacant when sitting mayor Joe Anderson was arrested in connection with a fraud probe into building deals in the city.
Ms Morton said: “We are still under the shadow of what happened with the previous mayor.
“Now treating these three councillors this way is a disgrace and an insult to the city.
“You cannot have national Labour Party interference like that.”
Other councillors have suggested that Labour will struggle to find willing candidates, with one comparing standing before the decision to bar the existing shortlist had been explained to “crossing a picket line.”
The Labour Party has attempted to justify its actions by saying it wanted to have “the right candidate” in the election.
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