Labour Liverpool report finds local bullying, misogyny, toxic culture

When the City Council meets tomorrow to endorse a report containing Liverpool’s improvement proposals they must have at the back of their mind the need to improve Liverpool’s Labour Party as well

I have just seen a report on LabourList about the report which is being presented to Labour’s National Executive. It makes absolutely clear why the City Council has fallen into such terrible straits with its controlling group riven by misogyny, a toxic culture and anti-Semitism. It shows that rather than concentrating on delivering the vital services that the people of Liverpool need and deserve the Party looked inward to concentrate on factionalism and petty jealousies.

This comes as no surprise to anyone but now the report and its leaking to LabourList has left the local Party nowhere to hide. It comes at an opportune moment as tomorrow the Council considers its improvement plan to take us out of the Joe Anderson wasted decade. At Council tomorrow we will be confirming our initial improvement plan and must take the opportunity to look at the policies which have made the Council look inward rather than placing our City properly regionally, nationally and internationally.

In the short-term, however, this is likely to lead to yet more bloodletting inside Labour locally at a time when the City needs all its Councillors from all Parties concentrating on the way forward to respond to the Caller report and create vital new policies for the Council in a post- Brexit, Post Covid era.

In effect the report suggests nothing less than a wholesale clear out of councillors and officials now connected with the discredited Anderson lost Decade.

We can only hope that Labour’s National Executive today implement the report’s recommendations and also that the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service move as swiftly as possible to bring any potential legal actions in to the open as soon as possible. In some ways necessary actions cannot be taken inside the Council until we know what the Police intend to do and to whom. There is currently a lingering suspicion that there will be more arrests of more people and that charges will follow behand later in the year.

It may sound a long time ahead but Liverpool Lib Dems are looking forward to the May 2023 elections. We will build on our best elections this May in over a decade to provide a real challenge to a faded, jaded Labour Party”.

Today’s LabourList report in full

The review conducted by Labour into its own functioning in Liverpool after government intervention in the city council has found evidence of “bullying”, “misogyny” and a “toxic culture” locally, LabourList can exclusively reveal.

The hard-hitting report, seen by LabourList in full ahead of being presented to Labour’s ruling national executive committee on Tuesday, reveals that local members have found “misogyny and lack of tolerance endemic”.

Based on the 77 written submissions received by the panel and its 53 interviews talking to 60 individuals, the investigation concludes: “Nothing less than a full reset of the Labour Party in Liverpool is needed.”

It recommends that Labour nationally takes over candidate selection processes in Liverpool until June 2026, and that it immediately fast-tracks outstanding complaints in the Liverpool City region, completing them within six months.

The panel led by former government minister David Hanson says it received evidence identifying a “toxic culture” within the Labour group on the council and “dysfunctional governance running throughout the organisation”.

Looking at local party meetings, the internal investigation was “told of a toxic atmosphere in some meetings, not welcoming to members, where often members especially women were targeted for bullying or abuse”.

The panel was “presented with evidence of a history of antisemitism that already has led to expulsions and suspensions” and has recommended compulsory antisemitism training for all elected representatives, local party and branch officers.

It has further advised the party that this should “become a requirement for all seeking elected public office or office in the party in the future” and that Labour must make the necessary rule changes at party conference.

Noting reports of “poor performance”, “bullying, factionalism, misogyny and dysfunction”, “lack of organisation” and “unhealthy petty rivalries”, the document concludes that the panel recommendations “need acting on now”.

It also suggests that Labour reconstitute the constituencies in Liverpool and that all parliamentary candidates in future sign a pledge agreeing a date they will resign their council seat – including current councillor and MP Ian Byrne.

Labour launched its own Liverpool review after the Max Caller report into alleged wrongdoing at Liverpool City Council was published and commissioners were appointed by the government to oversee parts of the local authority.

Starting its work in April this year, the review was led by former Labour MP David Hanson, who was assisted by former Leeds Council leader Judith Blake and opposition chief whip Roy Kennedy, both Labour peers.

Sienna Miller, Editor LabourList

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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