Future lord mayor says vice disclosures will not deter her

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The Independent Online
THE woman due to become the next Lord Mayor of Liverpool last night pledged to stay in public office despite revelations that she was once a prostitute.

Petrona Lashley, 53, a Labour councillor from Toxteth, is Deputy Lord Mayor of the city and is set to be Lord Mayor next year.

But the Liverpool Echo reported that she has convictions dating back to 1973 for common prostitution and also for obtaining property by deception.

Ms Lashley was elected as a Labour member in 1991 and is deputy chairwoman of the city's social services committee. She works as an equality officer at Oxford Street maternity hospital.

The newspaper said she had three convictions for prostitution in the 1970s. It reported that in January 1973 she was fined pounds 5 by Liverpool magistrates; in September 1978 she was again fined pounds 5 and ordered to pay pounds 4 costs; and in November 1978 she was fined pounds 10 and ordered to pay pounds 4 costs.

The newspaper said that in 1990 at Liverpool Crown Court she was fined pounds 500 and ordered to pay pounds 150 costs after being accused of conspiracy to obtain property by deception.

Last night, Ms Lashley said the disclosures would not affect her aim to be Lord Mayor. 'I am surprised that so much attention has been paid to spent convictions, the majority of which happened 20 years ago.

'But I am determined that publicity of this nature will not affect my public duties. Since I was elected to the city council in 1991 I have put all my efforts into representing the community which elected me and I will continue to do so.'

Liverpool's Labour council leader, Harry Rimmer, said: 'We do not regard 23- year-old spent convictions as detrimental to her ability to carry out the duties of Lord Mayor.' He said that she would be a 'first-class choice' as Lord Mayor.

(Photograph omitted)