Ian Byrne: Why Liverpool MP is fighting to retain seat, why he’s seeking police advice and his challengers

The 2022 Member of Parliament of the Year will attend a selection meeting on Sunday.

Liverpool West Derby MP, Ian Byrne, is seeking police guideance after alleged ‘shameful intimidation’ of himself and his supporters on Saturday.

Mr Byrne, who was named as ‘MP of the Year’ at an awards ceremony in Westminster in March, is campaigning to retain his seat after local branch members triggered a reselection process.

What is reselection?

Ian Byrne has represented West Derby since 2019, but will now 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 faces 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 faces two candidates, Cllr Anthony Lavelle and Cllr Kimberley Whitehead, for his seat in West Derby. All three will attend a selection meeting on November 20 and members of the Liverpool West Derby Constituency Labour Party will place their votes for their candidate. It is then likely that this candidate will be West Derby’s Member of Parliament at the next General Election.

Why is Mr Byrne seeking police guidance?

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, 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 this weekend, 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.

What happens now?

The three candidates - Mr Byrne, Cllr Lavelle and Cllr Whitehead - will now be invited to a hustings and selection meeting on Sunday, November 20.

Members of the Liverpool West Derby Constituency Labour Party will then vote for who they want to be their Labour candidate at the next General Election.