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LABOUR was accused today of scrapping its Liverpool mayoral shortlist because one of the candidates was considered “the wrong type of black woman by influential people in the Labour Party hierarchy.”
In a hard-hitting statement, the Labour Black Socialists group said that the inclusion of leftwinger Anna Rothery on the shortlist of three local women had prompted the party’s decision to bin the shortlist and impose a new one — at the same time banning the three original potential candidates from standing.
The group said that it was “extremely disappointed with the way the outcome of the Liverpool mayoral selection process has been handled.”
“The members went through a hustings process to select three very experienced women on a shortlist,” a statement said.
“It appears to be that one of the prospective candidates was then marked out as the wrong type of black woman by influential people in the Labour Party hierarchy.”
Labour Black Socialists said that the three women had been “summarily cancelled out of the selection process, all without explanation and in violation of the Labour Party rule book and natural justice.”
The statement referred to a failed attempt by a minority of Liverpool Labour councillors to abolish the position of mayor and return to a system of local governance involving a “cabinet” and a leader elected only by councillors.
It said: “Because of the furore that followed, the Labour Party tried to cancel the elected mayor process and in council that motion was defeated.
“We believe that this motion was intended to pre-empt High Court action by one of the previous three candidates.”
Councillor Rothery has said that she is planning legal action over the party leadership’s interference in the selection process.
“Then, to make matters worse, the Labour Party came up with a new shortlist, from heaven knows where,” the group said.
“It seems that the rule book is not being followed. There is a lack of transparency and accountability in the nomination and selection processes.
“It appears that the Labour Party only agrees to democratic processes where the outcomes are consistent with the wishes of the party bureaucracy.
“That type of governance is unbecoming of a party that sees itself as a government-in-waiting.”
The statement called for the original three shortlisted candidates to be reinstated.
Labour has been contacted for comment.
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