UK

Luciana Berger Embroiled In Spat With Labour's Youngest Councillor Jake Morrison

04/06/2013 11:42 BST | Updated 04/06/2013 17:20 BST

One of the UK's youngest politicians is to quit his council seat, accusing Labour minister Luciana Berger of driving him out for not sticking to a script.

Councillor Jake Morrison, who was elected aged just 18 beating the former Lib Dem council leader Lord Storey for a seat in Liverpool Wavertree, accused Berger, the local MP and shadow minister for climate change, of ill treatment in a number of postings on social media

Her office told HuffPost UK that allegations were "completely untrue."

jake morrison

Liverpool Wavertree councillor Jake Morrison

“Cllr Morrison’s allegations are completely untrue," a spokeswoman said. "We work as a team in Liverpool Wavertree - the 14 councillors, over 400 party members, the MP and our wider community.

"Unfortunately communication with Cllr Morrison has broken down."

The conflict began after a cryptic tweet from the Labour councillor.

Morrison then posted a link to letter, purportedly sent from Berger on his Facebook page.

The letter says Morrison has "sadly ignored" script training from Arnie Graff, a community organising mentor who worked with Barack Obama.

"You have not visited the office to collect a copy of the script, which includes a list of all the forthcoming CLP events which we are inviting members to. You have not engaged with the constituency in some time and have chosen not to discuss your facebook/twitter resignation announcement with either the officers of the CLP, branch, your co-councillor or indeed myself," the letter continued.

The letter says Berger will make a "formal complaint about your behaviour and your complete lack of team work and respect for other members."

In a letter to Ed Miliband, outlining the details of his resignation, Morrison described being elected as "the proudest day of my life".

But he announced he would not be seeking re-election in 2015, and said local members, including Berger and Labour campaigner Sheila Murphy of "numerous smear tactics used to try and force me out sooner – to cause a by-election, and this has been orchestrated by Luciana Berger.

"I have knocked on members doors, who have told me that less than 48 hours after announcing I was stepping down, Luciana and Sheila Murphy had telephoned them to convince them I needed to go sooner rather than later.

Morrison, a healthcare assistant who left school at 16, expressed his disgust at Berger, who is seen by many as being parachuted into the seat. Berger was born in London and is the former director of Labour Friends of Israel.

luciana berger

Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger

"As Leader you have made it very clear that you would like to see a more representative parliament," Morrison wrote. "Here we have in Luciana, a privately educated MP from London, who has came to Liverpool and made my life unbearable. At every opportunity Luciana has undermined me, rather than supported.

Morrison said that Berger's arrival in the city was "not a comfortable one. It was covered in questions and claims of parachuting in candidates from London. And do you know what – I still campaigned every single day during the long campaign in the Wavertree constituency.

"It is suffice to say that if I wasn't receiving this treatment from Luciana and her team, I would be absolutely determined to carry on.

"I would much rather prefer to be putting my time and energy in to working for the people of Wavertree, than pleasing the local MP. I trust that the people of Liverpool will judge my work by what they can see.

"As Luciana is a member of the Parliamentary Labour Party, and a Shadow Junior Minister, I would absolutely urge you to interject and put an end to this nonsense once and for all."

Morrison said he would not be resigning from the party, just his position as councillor in 2015.

He praised another shadow minister, Maria Eagle, for his experiences working in her office.

Morrison received hundreds of messages of support on Facebook and Twitter, including one from Olympic boxer Natasha Jonas.

But others urged Morrison not to make the spat public because of the damage to the party.