Kim Johnson chosen to replace Louise Ellman in Liverpool Riverside

Sienna Rodgers

Kim Johnson, the local party black members’ officer, was chosen to replace Louise Ellman as Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Liverpool Riverside today.

The UNISON shop steward won the selection contest that was not put to a vote of local members but saw her picked by a panel made up of national, regional and local party representatives.

The race was triggered by the decision of incumbent Louise Ellman to quit Labour after 55 years of membership, citing antisemitism in the party and saying “Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to serve as our Prime Minister”.

Liverpool Riverside elected Ellman in 2017 by a huge majority of 35,947 votes. It became Labour’s third safest seat in the country by percentage of majority, which was 84.5%. Ellman will not be standing in the upcoming election.

Johnson was congratulated on her win by Labour frontbencher Angela Rayner, who described the newly selected candidate as a “staunch trade unionist” and a “well known anti-racist campaigner”.

In 2005, Johnson told the Liverpool Echo: “As a black person in Liverpool I find it difficult that if you came here and you weren’t from the city you would not be aware that we have a black community.”

She had taken on the role of creative diversity manager in the Capital of Culture bid team. “Liverpool’s black community is invisible even though we are the longest established in the country,” she said.

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