Today I announce my intention to stand as Labour’s candidate for MP in the Liverpool Walton constituency.
This decision has not been made lightly. I have thought long and hard about it but I feel, with the Government calling a snap General Election, this is the right time for me to provide the best representation for the people of Liverpool and Walton.
It is fair to say that over the years I have been criticised for my direct way of doing things, my no nonsense attitude may not have been to everyone’s taste, but I strongly believe that we must always stand up to bullies, and it will be clear to everyone in Liverpool Walton that this Government is intent on bullying our city.
Every day I have fought for Liverpool against the cuts and against those in the Westminster bubble who want to pull us down and hold us back. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat’s continued unfair and vicious attacks, despite our pleas, is evidence of National Government’s complete lack of understanding of how local councils work and, more importantly, the lives of the people who feel the devastating effects of their ignorance.
With almost 20 years of local government experience, and 7 years as leader then Mayor of Liverpool, I have continuously battled and fought for us to be treated fairly, but it is almost impossible to do when they simply refuse to listen. Vulnerable people in Walton depend on the services of our council, as do millions of others across the country, and I want the opportunity to go to Parliament, tell their story and look government ministers in the eye as I explain how important local government is to them.
With your support, I have steered Liverpool through 7 years of painful austerity, but I am proud to call our council a socialist council. Despite their bludgeoning cuts we haven’t closed a single library or children’s centre. We have protected the most vulnerable in our communities. We have built 15 new and improved schools across the city. I am proud of our achievements, and the city is in a good place, with a growing and vibrant economy.
If I am selected by the NEC, we have a strong group of Labour Councillors who will continue to do an incredible job and I fully trust that, if I’m chosen, they will continue to move this city forward.
Serving the people of Liverpool as Mayor has been a huge privilege for me, but now, as we face the uncertainties of Brexit, a shrinking national economy and the prospect of further austerity, I face an opportunity to use my experience to take the fight direct to Whitehall, to stand up to Theresa May on behalf of the people of Walton, Liverpool and together burst the Westminster bubble.
I would hope that the people of Liverpool can understand how I have come to this decision and that party members both nationally and locally will understand that my heart’s desire is to fight for the people of Liverpool and Labour’s vision for running the country. This General Election, as a chance to stand up in Parliament for Walton and Liverpool, is an opportunity I must take.