Many MPs who were returned at the 2017 General Election have decided that, this time, they are going to stand down. Of those in the North West, Stephen Twigg, the man who brought us the “Portillo moment” in the 1997 campaign, has decided he will not stand again for the Liverpool West Derby constituency. So after the usual shortlisting and selection decision, local Labour activists decided Ian Byrne would succeed him.
Ian Byrne, selected ...
Byrne is a straightforward old school Labour man. He’s local, he’s a straight talker, and readily admits that he’s been on a journey when it comes to learning about the struggles of minority groups, and about sexism and misogyny. “Seven years ago I was working in a printing shop and at the start of my political journey … It is through political education and becoming active in the Labour Party that I’ve learnt about struggles for disabled rights and LGBT+ rights, and have strived to be an ally in those struggles” he told recently.
... to represent this party ...
But after the narrow result in last week’s selection meeting, and increased media interest in comments which had been known about widely since September, when the Mail on Sunday dug up his social media history, there have been some voices raised against his candidature. Their problem is that Byrne is a genuinely popular choice.
... in this city
This can be seen from what others - including many female voices - have said about him, such as Alison Clarke: “Thanks so much [Val Colvin] It’s fantastic to have [Ian Byrne] as our parliamentary candidate. He is going to be an amazing MP & such a strong advocate for our residents & our community”. And there was more.
After Tory Fibs mused “Labour's [Ian Byrne]’s crusade to defeat hunger and food poverty is inspiring. Having survived on charity handouts when I was a child, to have this man in Parliament fighting for the hungry will give the poor a voice we have been missing”, Rona Heron responded “[Ian Byrne] is an amazing grassroot socialist, true to himself and others, transparent and approachable, he will give 110% representing the City of Liverpool and [West Derby] … how proud we are”. And yet more.
Byrne himself, as one would expect from a Scouser, is being honest about his past and confronting the issue head-on: “On Tuesday evening I am meeting local West Derby women to discuss issues around sexist and misogynist language, how we use political education to tackle these issues across society and talk about what my own personal journey in our labour movement taught me about equality”.
The Liverpool Labour Facebook page has this comment from Alice Bennett: “Ian Byrne is one of the best MP candidates in a long time, with a great community-focused, anti-austerity legacy. He is someone who wants the best for others. Let's all get behind him and ensure we have a genuine socialist MP in West Derby”. The accompanying photo shows Byrne is also a supporter of Fans Supporting Foodbanks.
Many local women were happy to stand with Byrne earlier today with the FSF van. So what is the problem? It seems it’s the F-word, as in Factionalism. Does it matter which faction it is? Rather less than it matters to stop fighting one another.
Ian Byrne has been selected for West Derby. He’s massively popular. Get behind him.
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