Thursday 6 February 2020


Liam Byrne

Liam Byrne has been selected as Labour's candidate for the Mayor of the West Midlands.  He defeated two hard left candidates in a Labour ballot of local members.  The anti-Semite Corbynista Salma Yaqoob finished last and was eliminated in the first round.  She only joined Labour last year, but quickly rose to prominence and was backed for the candidacy by both Momentum and Len McCluskey's Unite union.  All this despite a well documented litany of anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli statements over the years.  Naz Shah, the odious Labour MP for Bradford West, released a video last year in which she made various allegations against Yaqoob relating to the 2017 general election.  Yaqoob had stood against Shah as an independent.  Forgive us Naz, but no-one's shedding any tears for you either.

Voting in Labour's ballot was as follows.

First Round (50% required to win outright)

Liam Byrne 3,105 (44.9%)
Pete Lowe 2,034 (28.9%)
Salma Yaqoob 1,809 (26.2%)


Liam Byrne 3,530 (56.5%)
Pete Lowe 2,720 (43.5%)

Runner-up Pete Lowe was backed by several trades unions including Unison.  Byrne's victory could be held up as an example of the diminishing of the hard left, although it should be noted that the vote was split between two hard left candidates.  The opposite could happen in the party leadership election where the moderate vote will be split between Starmer and Nandy, potentially handing victory to the hard left Long-Bailey.

If the name Liam Byrne sounds vaguely familiar, the Birmingham Hodge Hill MP was a minister in the Blair and Brown governments, but you'll know him for writing one of the most infamous letters in political history.  He was the man behind the letter to the incoming coalition government of 2010:  "Dear Chief Secretary, I'm afraid there is no money".

Liam Byrne's infamous letter

The West Midlands mayoral role was introduced in 2017 as one of six directly elected mayors for combined authorities in England.  The West Midlands covers the largest population for a combined authority outside Greater London and carries a salary of £79,000.  The inaugural 2017 election was narrowly won by the Conservative's Andy Street.