Princes Park councillor Joanne Anderson could be Liverpool’s first black and female Mayor after winning the Labour nomination and she has vowed to ‘restore trust’ in the council. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool could be on course to elect its first-ever black and female leader after the Labour Party selected Prince Park councillor Joanne Anderson to be its candidate for Mayor of Liverpool.
Cllr Anderson, no relation to previous Mayor Joe Anderson, is believed to have beaten her party rival, Croxteth councillor Anthony Lavelle, by a thumping two to one margin. She will now go forward to represent Labour as the likely favourite for the ballot on May 6.
Labour’s selection process was thrown into disarray when the original three shortlisted candidates, current Acting Mayor Wendy Simon, Lord Mayor Anna Rothery and former Deputy Mayor Ann O’Byrne, were barred from standing by the party.
Cllr Simon took over as Acting Mayor in December when two-time elected Mayor Joe Anderson was arrested by Merseyside Police on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation as part of the Operation Aloft investigation. He is no longer on bail and denies all wrongdoing. However, he decided to step aside as Mayor.
Joanne Anderson was only elected as a councillor in 2019 but has been active in the Liverpool 8 community for a number of years. As the Labour candidate she is likely to be the favourite to win. However, the party is embroiled in the fallout from the Caller report into the failings within the city council and this could influence the outcome.
After winning the nomination, she said: “Throughout the pandemic we have seen the very best of our people. We are a city that cares, a city that hopes, a city with pride. Last week, our city’s pride was knocked because of the actions of a few.
“The Caller report has highlighted serious failings within our city council, and I promise to make it my priority to drive our improvements, restoring trust in our city and putting social value and transparency at the heart of everything we do.
“We must use this as a springboard to transform how we do things and provide a new, fresh approach for our city. We have got to rejuvenate our social sector. We must address our housing crisis by building council housing and affordable homes.
“We must regenerate our city in a way that puts communities first. Most importantly, we must ensure our city once again becomes a city of opportunity for everyone, especially our young people. I will be honest about our past, and I will also be positive about our future as a city. Our city has been through difficult times before and we got through it with grit and determination.
“It is that same spirit that will get us through these next few years. I am asking the people of our city to join me in cementing Liverpool’s status as the world class city we know it to be. To make Liverpool a city where everyone has a part to play and every contribution is valued – a city we can all be proud to love.”
Strongest challenger could be independent candidate Stephen Yip. Also on the ballot will be Richard Kemp for the Liberal Democrats, Tom Crone for the Greens, Roger Bannister for TUSC and Tuebrook councillor Steve Radford for the Liberal Party. The Conservative candidate is Liverpool businesswoman Katie Burgess.
Cllr Anderson also has the backing of the Liverpool social enterprise, The Women’s Organisation, an organisation that has established itself as a powerful voice for women and BAME people in the Liverpool city region.