Joanne Anderson has been elected to lead the city council, beating off competition from independent candidate Stephen Yip to replace Joe Anderson who resigned from the post after his arrest last December.
Joanne Anderson, who is no relation to the former mayor, claimed victory with 46,493 votes compared to Yip’s 32,079.
“I am so proud and honoured to be the first black woman directly elected as mayor in the UK, and our city’s first-ever female leader.” Anderson said.
“Liverpool has always been a city of firsts, one that does things differently and that charters its own path. Today, we made history.”
Anderson’s win follows a tumultuous period for Liverpool City Council and the Labour Party, which has included Operation Aloft, Merseyside Police’s ongoing investigation focussing on alleged corruption in the award of building and development contracts across Liverpool.
A total of 11 people have been questioned in relation to the investigation so far, including the city council’s former head of regeneration Nick Kavanagh, and the former mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson.
Both men have denied wrongdoing and have not been charged.
Following former mayor Joe Anderson’s decision to step away from the city council, Cllr Wendy Simon was appointed interim mayor and she, along with former deputy mayor Ann O’Byrne, and lord mayor Anna Rothery, put themselves forward to be the Labour nomination for the mayoral election.
However, the trio were barred from standing in the race by the Labour Party, sparking fury and confusion in the city.
At the time, a Labour party spokesperson said: “After careful consideration, Labour is reopening the selection for Liverpool mayor. We are committed to ensuring members are able to choose the right candidate to stand up against the Conservatives, lead Liverpool out of the coronavirus crisis and fight for the resources that the city desperately needs.”
Joanne Anderson was subsequently selected as Labour’s nomination but many feared her chances of being elected could be marred by the findings of Max Caller’s report into the running of the Labour-led city council, with some commentators predicting residents of Liverpool could turn their backs on the party.
Following the publication of Caller’s report, communities minister Robert Jenrick said the findings painted a “deeply concerning picture of mismanagement” within the city council.
Following her victory today (Friday), Anderson said: “The first thing I want to do is apologise to the city of Liverpool on behalf of our party and administration for the findings of the Caller Report.
“It uncovered things that have deeply hurt us all. I have always held an unshakeable sense of justice and this is one of the reasons I have stood for the role. I am wholeheartedly determined to put our city on a restorative path after a difficult year.”
She added: “I will take full responsibility for driving improvements, rebuilding trust in our city, and putting best value for our communities at the heart of everything our council does and delivers.”
As well as Yip and Anderson, Green Party leader Tom Crone, the Liberal Party’s Steve Radford, Liberal Democrat leader Richard Kemp, Conservative Katie Burgess, and TUSC candidate Roger Bannister were all bidding to be elected mayor.