Liverpool elects black female mayor in historic vote

Self-professed Corbynista apologises for previous Labour administration, mired in scandal

Jane Dalton
Friday 07 May 2021 21:50
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Joanne Anderson immediately said sorry for her predecessor’s administration
Joanne Anderson immediately said sorry for her predecessor’s administration

Liverpool has elected its first black female mayor, as Labour retained the mayoralty despite a storm of corruption allegations surrounding the previous incumbent.

Joanne Anderson, a self-professed Corbynista, succeeded Joe Anderson – no relation – who chose not to stand following his arrest in a Merseyside Police fraud investigation.

After her victory, Ms Anderson apologised for the previous administration, referring to a report by local government inspector Max Caller that outlined a culture of bullying, intimidation, “dubious” deals, patchy scrutiny and “jobs for the boys”.

“The first thing I want to do is apologise to the city for what’s happened in terms of the Caller investigation and what’s happened under the previous administration,” Ms Anderson said.

“I’ve stood up because I want to make this right and I will do everything in my power to make it right.”

She pledged to give the city an “accountable and transparent” authority that the “people of Liverpool deserve”.

The first woman of colour to ever lead a large British city, Ms Anderson told The Independent earlier this week: “I do think this will impact on girls thinking about what they can and cannot achieve… And just by being in the room, as a black woman, it will make a difference to the tone and culture here.”

An equality and diversity consultant by profession, she had previously promised annual citizens’ audits, increased scrutiny and an excess of transparency to prevent future suspicions of wrongdoing.

She has also said she wants to get rid of the position of elected mayor, and has promised a shake-up to ditch councillors involved in the scandal.

Commissioners appointed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government are taking over some of the city council’s functions for the next three years following the Caller report.

Independent candidate Stephen Yip, founder of children’s charity Kind Liverpool, came second in the mayoral race, with 32,079 votes to Ms Anderson’s 46,493.

Additional reporting by PA

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