Labour MP Ian Byrne faces local competition to retain his place as a Labour candidate at the next general election. Byrne is the third hard left MP to have lost 'trigger ballots' meaning that he must go through a reselection process to be the party's candidate for Liverpool West Derby. He will go up against Liverpool councillor Anthony Lavelle and Hyndburn councillor Kimberley Whitehead for the ultra safe Labour seat, boasting a current majority of 29,984.
Byrne has attracted some impressive support for his bid. Last weekend he was joined on the campaign trail by Liverpool metro mayor Steve Rotheram and fellow Scouser Andy Burnham. The endorsement of Burnham is of particular interest, as Burnham is much closer to Starmer in terms of politics than Corbyn. While Burnham likes to paint himself as the 'saviour of the north' he actually backed Starmer in the 2020 leadership election, rather than either of the two candidates representing constituencies in the Greater Manchester region he represents as metro mayor. His endorsement of Byrne at this stage could be seen as a sleight to Starmer, who would clearly benefit from the loss of another hard left MP.
|A banner unfurled at Liverpool's Anfield football stadium recently|
With such a safe seat and huge salary at stake, perhaps it will come as no surprise that the West Derby contest has turned ugly fast. Byrne posted a statement on his social media channels last weekend alleging 'intimidation' from an unnamed rival campaign, including unnamed politicians. This was angrily denied by Cllr Harry Doyle, a supporter of Cllr Lavelle's campaign, who called on Byrne to retract his statement. Rival campaign meetings for both Byrne and Lavelle took place next door to each other on the day of the alleged 'intimidation'.
Local party members will vote on who will be West Derby's next Labour candidate (and inevitably MP) on Sunday 20 November, following a hustings. That should be a fiery evening!