Liam Byrne to stand for Birmingham Mayor (but isn’t leaving the shad cab yet)

March 29, 2012 5:49 pm

As we suggested might happen a few weeks ago, Liam Byrne will tomorrow throw his hat into the ring to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Birmingham. However he’s not resigning from the shadow cabinet (yet) – he’ll only leave his role as shadow DWP minister if there’s a “Yes” vote in the Birmingham Mayoral referendum. A Labour source told us:

“Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Liam Byrne will tomorrow formally announce his intention to become Labour Mayor of Birmingham.

“He has talked this over with Ed Miliband and agreed that if there was a yes vote in May, he would step down from the Shadow Cabinet to fight to become the first Labour mayor of Birmingham.”

News that Byrne is considering a run isn’t surprising. One Birmingham activist told us earlier this week that Byrne was “like Hamlet” agonising over the decision. We’re expecting a big announcement in the Birmingham Mail tomorrow. Whether or not he’s backed by any significant figures in Birmingham Labour Party (such as local MPs or council leader and candidate Albert Bore) could be key to the success of his candidacy.

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  • Amber Star

    Just go, Liam. You wore out your welcome when you left that stupid letter to David Laws.

    • Robert_Crosby

      I agree totally.  I don’t support the idea of elected mayors outside London in general – but I’m all for there being a vacancy in Birmingham if it means we can get Byrne out of the Shadow Cabinet.

      The sad thing is that Blairites think that LB is the kind of Labour politician that voters warm to.  How they come to that conclusion is beyond me.  He never looks sincere, we had the idiotic episode of the note – which the Tories and LDs won’t be able to use in the election campaign if he’s not in a Shadow post any longer) and I seem to remember that he was also caught using a mobile at the wheel.  The man is a disaster zone.

      • Kokopops

        I totally agree with the Bliarite comment –  Cameroons should also be included (‘Heir to Blair’ and all that). 

        However, I think Mayors for big cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle are a good idea, as opposed to smaller cities like Doncaster or Hartlepool and I think it will allow those cities to grow in prominence, as long as they get a wide area of responsibilities.

        The sad thing is that although I hope (and think) Birmingham will vote ‘yes’, I don’t think Liam Byrne will be the LAbour candidate (as I think Sion Simon will sneak it, especially with Tom Watson supporting him), which would mean that Byrne will still be in the PLP.  Personally, the best thing would be Byrne to get the Labour candidacy and step down resulting in a by-election and then, for Birmingham’s sake, lose the election to a more independent-minded leftie like Lynne Jones, Salma Yacoob or Clare Short.

  • Mike Homfray

    So he’s going and this is the smokescreen which looks better than being sacked. Just about anyone else could do the job better. Preferably someone who knows about the subject such as Kate Green or Karen Buck

    • Kokopops

      I would love Kate Green or Karen Buck in the Shadow Cabinet and shadow DWP would be perfect for them.

  • GuyM

    Of course given you on the left screamed that Boris had to resign as an MP to “concentrate” being london mayor, you will of course be insisting any Labour MP elected as a mayor also resigns as an MP?

    • Kokopops

      Yes, the MP should resign, who is saying the opposite?

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