Liverpool West Derby MP, Ian Byrne, has been reselected to represent the Labour party at the next general election.
Mr Byrne, who was named as ‘MP of the Year’ at an awards ceremony in Westminster in March, campaigned to retain his seat after local branch members triggered a reselection process.
Ian Byrne has represented West Derby since 2019, but had to compete against other candidates for the seat after losing a series of votes in local constituency branches. This means that rather than being automatically selected as the Labour candidate for the area for the next General Election, he faced a selection battle to retain his candidacy.
The MP is a regular campaigner on food poverty and is known for pushing for the introduction of a Hillsborough Law and for Hillsborough to be on school curriculums. However, his initial selection was controversial within the Labour party, due to longstanding councillors being overlooked.
Mr Byrne faced two candidates, Cllr Anthony Lavelle and Cllr Kimberley Whitehead, for his seat in West Derby. However, Cllr Whitehead announced her withdrawal from the process on Sunday.
On the evening of Sunday November 20, it was announced Ian Byrne had retained the Labour nomination, with a 210-198 win against Anthony Lavelle.
Controversy during the contest
Despite facing reselection, Ian Byrne has the support of high-profile figures within the Labour party, including Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram and Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.
Whilst campaigning with the Mayors at a pub car park on Saturday November 12, Mr Byrne claims he faced ‘intimidation’ from supporters of Cllr Lavelle, who was hosting an event next door.
On Twitter, he said: “The intimidation I was met with yesterday when hosting two mayors, a local councillor and local party members in my constituency was shameful and everyone involved in this awful behaviour, including local politicans, have been blocked from my social media.
“I have taken this action in support of my own and my team’s mental health and safety in light of the death threat we received recently. I will also be seeking guidance from the Police and Council in the day’s ahead.”
Amongst those supporting Cllr Lavelle, was Cllr Doyle. He said he was ‘completely astounded’ by Mr Byrne’s statement, and that it ‘defames’ him and others.
In a statement on Twitter, Mr Doyle said: “I have just read a statement from our local MP, Ian Byrne, about alleged intimidation of his supporters yesterday by supporters of Anthony Lavelle. In his statement he claims he has blocked councillors on Twitter involved in this. This includes myself.”
LiverpoolWorld has contacted Cllr Lavelle for comment.