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THE Labour left won another significant victory yesterday as Steve Rotheram was named as the party’s candidate to become mayor of the Liverpool City Region.
Mr Rotheram, who is parliamentary aide to party leader Jeremy Corbyn, overcame high-profile competition from current city mayor Joe Anderson and former frontbench MP Luciana Berger.
In the first round of voting, the Liverpool Walton MP won 2,029 votes, compared to 1,641 for Mr Anderson and 1,202 for Ms Berger.
After Ms Berger was eliminated, Mr Rotheram secured 2,670 in the second round and Mr Anderson 2,042.
Speaking after the result was announced, the former bricklayer pledged to “stand up for ordinary people” if he is elected to the newly created “metro mayor” post next May.
“As metro mayor, I will put social justice at the heart of my administration; something which I’ve been passionate about all of my political career,” he told local members.
He said he would give Tory PM Theresa May the “benefit of the doubt” over her pledge to cut inequality, but added: “You will now have to turn some of the rhetoric you said on the steps of Downing Street into the resources that we need in our streets.”
The result was welcomed by Mr Corbyn, who said: “Steve is a tireless campaigner and advocate for the region, and as mayor would do everything possible to minimise the impact of Tory austerity.”
Momentum chairman Jon Lansman added: “Really delighted at the news that Steve Rotheram is to be Labour’s mayoral candidate in Liverpool. A victory for democracy.”
Earlier this week Andy Burnham and Sion Simon were selected as the Labour candidates for the mayoral contests in Manchester and Birmingham.
Labour MP Jess Phillips spoke out against the all-male line-up yesterday and accused Mr Corbyn of snubbing her request for a meeting about equality in the selections.
Mr Rotheram told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “I understand the concerns but of course we did have a woman candidate in the Liverpool City Region metro mayor contest and I came out the top.
“I can’t do anything about my gender but the members have spoken.”
The election will be held on May 4 2017.
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