Labour mocked from within over its ‘man date’ for regional mayors
Steve Rotheram beat Luciana Berger in Liverpool – and Jess Philips is not happy.
Labour’s failure to nominate any female candidates for the upcoming mayoral elections has been mocked by one its most prominent female backbenchers.
The Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips also claimed that Jeremy Corbyn and his office ignored her approaches earlier this year to discuss equality in the mayoral races.
Today Corbyn's ally Steve Rotheram became the Labour candidate for the Liverpool City Region’s mayoral race, following yesterday’s announcements of Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester and Siôn Simon in the West Midlands.
Speaking to Radio 4's World at One, Rotheram said he could understand why people felt "disenfranchised", but defended his nomination.
"Of course, we did have a woman candidate in the Liverpool City Region Metro mayor contest, and I came out the top. So, I can’t do anything about my gender, but the members have spoken," he said.
It means that Labour’s candidates for the mayoralties of London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Tower Hamlets and Bristol are all men.
In a series of tweets, Phillips expressed her frustration at the situation, arguing women are not “furniture” and joking that Labour’s mayoral candidates and incumbents can “go on an actual man date”.
She also claimed her attempt to discuss the situation with Mr Corbyn earlier this year was overlooked.
Labour MP Luciana Berger came third in the race to secure the Labour nomination for the Liverpool City region mayoralty behind Joe Anderson, while no women were on the shortlist for the Greater Manchester contest.
Labour has never had a permanent female leader, with Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall taking the last two spots in last year’s leadership race. This year, Labour MPs backed Owen Smith over Angela Eagle as the ‘unity candidate’ to fight Corbyn.
And the issue has not gone un-noticed by the Conservatives.
In her first Prime Minister’s Questions, Theresa May told Corbyn: “You refer to me as the second woman prime minister. In my years here in this House I’ve long heard the Labour Party asking what the Conservative Party does for women - well, it just keeps making us prime minister.”
Picture by: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images