Joanne Anderson has been announced, following a ballot of party members, as Labour’s new candidate for the Liverpool mayoral election taking place on May 6th, when incumbent Joe Anderson – no relation – will fully step down from the role.
“Thank you to Liverpool Labour members for putting their trust and faith in me and selecting me as their Labour candidate for mayor of Liverpool,” Anderson, a local Liverpool councillor, said as the party unveiled the result.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen the very best of our people. We are a city that cares, a city that hopes, a city with pride. Last week, our city’s pride was knocked because of the actions of a few.
“The Caller report has highlighted serious failings within our city council, and I promise to make it my priority to drive our improvements, restoring trust in our city and putting social value and transparency at the heart of everything we do.
“We must use this as a springboard to transform how we do things and provide a new, fresh approach for our city. We have got to rejuvenate our social sector. We must address our housing crisis by building council housing and affordable homes.
“We must regenerate our city in a way that puts communities first. Most importantly, we must ensure our city once again becomes a city of opportunity for everyone, especially our young people.”
Princes Park ward representative Joanne Anderson has previously worked in community engagement for the civil service and set up an organisation boosting diversity in business. If elected, she would be Liverpool’s first female and first Black leader.
“I will be honest about our past, and I will also be positive about our future as a city. Our city has been through difficult times before and we got through it with grit and determination. It is that same spirit that will get us through these next few years.
“I am asking the people of our city to join me in cementing Liverpool’s status as the world-class city we know it to be. To make Liverpool a city where everyone has a part to play and every contribution is valued – a city we can all be proud to love.”
Labour unveiled two new potential candidates for the Liverpool race at the start of this month, after the internal race was reopened with three women previously shortlisted not invited to join, in what has been a controversial series of events.
Councillors Wendy Simon, Ann O’Byrne and Anna Rothery were originally shortlisted. But in mid-February the process was suspended without the party giving any official reason. After being reinterviewed, the three were effectively barred from running.
The selection contest was restarted, and a panel picked Liverpool councillors Anthony Lavelle and Joanne Anderson after conducting fresh interviews. The party said they were both “excellent” and would “offer the city a new leadership”.
The party needed a new mayoral candidate because mayor Joe Anderson, who denies any wrongdoing, was arrested in December on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation. He stepped aside from the post soon afterwards.
Minister Robert Jenrick last week confirmed that commissioners will be appointed to oversee parts of the council, a move that was welcomed by the Labour leadership. A report found that the council had failed to comply with its best value duty.
The report by Max Caller noted that sources described the corporate management and oversight of the council’s regeneration team as “sketchy” and the “style” in regeneration as “intimidating”, with little being committed to writing.