Exclusive: Labour Liverpool report finds local bullying, misogyny, toxic culture

Sienna Rodgers

The review conducted by Labour into its own functioning in Liverpool after government intervention in the city council has found evidence of “bullying”, “misogyny” and a “toxic culture” locally, LabourList can exclusively reveal.

The hard-hitting report, seen by LabourList in full ahead of being presented to Labour’s ruling national executive committee on Tuesday, reveals that local members have found “misogyny and lack of tolerance endemic”.

Based on the 77 written submissions received by the panel and its 53 interviews talking to 60 individuals, the investigation concludes: “Nothing less than a full reset of the Labour Party in Liverpool is needed.”

It recommends that Labour nationally takes over candidate selection processes in Liverpool until June 2026, and that it immediately fast-tracks outstanding complaints in the Liverpool City region, completing them within six months.

The panel led by former government minister David Hanson says it received evidence identifying a “toxic culture” within the Labour group on the council and “dysfunctional governance running throughout the organisation”.

Looking at local party meetings, the internal investigation was “told of a toxic atmosphere in some meetings, not welcoming to members, where often members especially women were targeted for bullying or abuse”.

The panel was “presented with evidence of a history of antisemitism that already has led to expulsions and suspensions” and has recommended compulsory antisemitism training for all elected representatives, local party and branch officers.

It has further advised the party that this should “become a requirement for all seeking elected public office or office in the party in the future” and that Labour must make the necessary rule changes at party conference.

Noting reports of “poor performance”, “bullying, factionalism, misogyny and dysfunction”, “lack of organisation” and “unhealthy petty rivalries”, the document concludes that the panel recommendations “need acting on now”.

It also suggests that Labour reconstitute the constituencies in Liverpool and that all parliamentary candidates in future sign a pledge agreeing a date they will resign their council seat – including current councillor and MP Ian Byrne.

Responding to this part of the report, Byrne told LabourList: “I continued in this role after being unanimously voted in for a second term by my ward members – and it is at their request that I continue to represent them.

“As the report states, wards are vitally important and on a local level I am immensely proud that after becoming MP for Liverpool West Derby I was asked to continue as Everton ward councillor.”

The MP added: “I am honoured to have been elected councillor for Everton ward and MP for Liverpool West Derby and I will always work hard to execute these roles to the very best of my ability and to repay the faith shown in me by those who elected me.”

Labour launched its own Liverpool review after the Max Caller report into alleged wrongdoing at Liverpool City Council was published and commissioners were appointed by the government to oversee parts of the local authority.

Starting its work in April this year, the review was led by former Labour MP David Hanson, who was assisted by former Leeds Council leader Judith Blake and opposition chief whip Roy Kennedy, both Labour peers.

A significant Labour NEC meeting on Tuesday will consider the Liverpool report, as well as proposals to make further cuts to party staff, the proscription of four groups with auto-expulsion and a new party complaints process.

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