LabourList can reveal that Labour members in Liverpool could pick a new mayoral candidate, replacing Joe Anderson who has been suspended from the party after being arrested, within six weeks.
Under plans that will be put to Labour’s national executive committee for approval at a meeting on Thursday, the selection process would emulate the one used for metro mayor candidate and kick off on Friday.
If signed off by the organisation sub-committee, the speedy process would see self-nominations open on January 22nd and close one week later, with the 29th also being the deadline for arrears to be brought up to date.
A selection board comprising members of the NEC and of the North West regional board – including at least one local government representative and excluding Merseyside members – would then review applications.
After this longlisting step, on February 1st the selection panel would conduct shortlisting interviews. A one-member-one-vote ballot would then open on February 17th and close at noon on March 5th.
Those thought to be planning to stand include interim mayor Wendy Simon and local councillor Ann O’Byrne. Also rumoured to be interested are council cabinet member Barry Kushner and former MEP Theresa Griffin.
Jon Burke, a Hackney councillor until December 2020, has told the Liverpool Echo that he also has his eye on becoming the next Liverpool mayor – depending on his eligibility, as he has lived in London since 2007.
Anderson announced on December 10th that he was stepping aside as Liverpool mayor, amid pressure from colleagues following his arrest on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation.
The directly-elected mayor, who first took office in 2012 after serving as council leader, was administratively suspended from the Labour Party on the same day of his arrest pending the outcome of the case.
The incumbent, currently on unpaid leave, had been reselected as Labour’s candidate but confirmed on December 31st that he would not be seeking re-election. Merseyside Police rebailed him until February.
Anderson said he was “disappointed’ by the police decision. He has pledged to “continue to fight to demonstrate that I am innocent of any wrongdoing” and “protect my legacy as mayor of this city of which I am proud”.
In a paper describing the political situation as “very fractious in recent years”, the NEC has been told that 90 separate complaints from the city were recorded on Labour’s system between January 2018 and July 2020.