New Liverpool mayoral shortlist revealed

A revised mayoral candidate shortlist for the city has been unveiled, after the Labour party last month scrapped its initial list of May election hopefuls without explanation.

Councillors Anthony Lavelle, who represents Croxteth ward, and Joanne Anderson, who represents Princes Park ward, have been selected to take part in the contest.

Anderson is not related to Liverpool’s previous mayor Joe Anderson, who stood down from the position last year following his December arrest in connection with Merseyside Police’s Operation Aloft corruption probe, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation.

Joe Anderson was released on bail last year and has not been charged. He is currently suspended from the Labour party on unpaid leave.

Last Tuesday, the party announced that it was restarting the process of selecting a candidate to replace Anderson – scrapping its original three-women shortlist and barring each of them from standing in the race. The shortlist comprised interim mayor of Liverpool Wendy Simon, former deputy mayor Ann O’Byrne, and lord mayor Anna Rothery.

The decision – for which no explanation was given – sparked a row within the party, and later in the week a group of Labour councillors attempted to have the role of elected mayor for Liverpool scrapped.

An emergency meeting on Saturday saw the city’s labour councillors vote 39 to 20 against a motion to revert to a mayor and cabinet model, meaning the election on 6 May will go ahead as planned. However, a referendum on the issue is to be held in 2023.

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment. A party spokesperson was quoted as telling “In Joanne and Anthony, Labour members in Liverpool have the choice between two excellent candidates who are both rooted in their communities and have outstanding campaigning and organisational skills.

“They offer the city a new leadership, which is proud of its strong values and diverse communities. They are both fully committed to moving Liverpool forward out of the coronavirus crisis and fighting for the resources that the city desperately needs.”

Anderson, a business consultant, has worked in community engagement for the Crown Prosecution Service, as equality and diversity policy lead. She also runs an organisation centred on diversity in businesses. She was first elected in 2019.

Lavelle is a former youth worker from Croxteth who was first elected in 2016. He campaigned at 14 against the Lib Dem closure of his local comprehensive school.

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They sound like the ideal candidates with great backgrounds to really lead Liverpool forward into the world class city we almost definitely would like to be. I’m absolutely convinced.

By Red Robbin

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