Former Lord Mayor quits Labour Party accusing it of wasting time on 'petty personality politics'

A former Lord Mayor of Liverpool has left the Labour Party, accusing it of wasting time on "petty personality politics."

Councillor Anna Rothery, who became the city's first black Lord Mayor in 2019, will now sit as an independent in the Princes Park ward which she has represented since 2006.

She told ITV Granada Reports she is frustrated at people "fighting amongst each other" while residents look for leadership to help them through "despicable times".

Councillor Anna Rothery

The former Lord Mayor was one of three women who were initially on a shortlist to replace Joe Anderson as Mayor of Liverpool - before that shortlist was dropped with little warning to the candidates.

At the time, Labour said it was "committed to ensuring members are able to choose the right candidate" but Cllr Rothery called the decision an "undemocratic failure of process."

She took the party to the High Court, but lost her case and was ordered to pay £65,000 in legal costs.

Joanne Anderson was eventually chosen to become the new mayor.

Cllr Rothery denied the episode played a significant part in her choosing to quit.

In her resignation letter, Cllr Rothery was heavily critical of the party and its leader.

Sir Keir Starmer faced a backlash on Merseyside last month after writing an article for The Sun which has been boycotted by many in the area for its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster.

Cllr Rothery described Sir Keir's decision as "unforgivable" and "disloyal".

The former Lord Mayor wrote that the Labour party no longer represents her values and is failing to "effectively oppose the government's attacks on our people."

She added, "The leadership is more interested carrying out internal party vendettas than standing up for our people, our black community and our LGBTQIA community."

In an email, chief whip Ruth Bennett told Liverpool Labour councillors: "Cllr Anna Rothery has resigned her membership of the Labour Party and will now sit as an independent councillor.

"We are all sad that Anna has taken this decision and this will be a difficult time for you as many of you will be Anna’s close friends."

Cllr Rothery is the second Liverpool Labour councillor to leave the party this week.

Clubmoor representative Sarah Morton resigned, labelling the party "a disgrace".

The Labour Party has declined to comment.