Labour has been thrown into chaos in Liverpool, after a leaked email reportedly revealed councillors were refusing to hand out leaflets for the party’s own mayoral candidate.
A message sent from council cabinet member Steve Munby to his colleagues allegedly said the leaflet “makes the Ed stone look like a masterpiece”.
He also warned it would remind people of Militant, the hard-left insurgency which overtook Liverpool city council in the 1980s at the height of Labour’s internal crisis.
The leaflet in question, to promote Liverpool City Region mayoral candidate Steve Rotherham, was titled: “The Tories don’t understand us, they never have.”
It features a string of images, including one of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and an old view of the city’s landmark Albert Dock.
The Liverpool Echo reported that Munby fumed that he could not think of “anything more damaging” to Rotheram’s campaign than to “put out a leaflet evoking the 80s”.
He wrote: “The centre piece is a picture of the Albert Dock before renovation and the 1981 riots and the headline is the Tories don’t understand us, they never have.
“The rationale having spoken to [regional organiser] Liam Didsbury and Nick Small [another Labour councillor] is that we are polling so badly that we have to appeal to our core vote by attacking the Tories. That’s as maybe.”
Munby said that putting a picture of the Albert Dock before its regeneration, orchestrated by the Thatcher government, would only promote “the one good thing the Tories have done for Liverpool and shows that it’s the people who designed the leaflet, not the Tories who don’t understand Liverpool.”
The Echo also reported him saying: “With the exception of Nick [Small], all the councillors I have spoken to in Riverside are deeply unhappy about the leaflet.”
Many of us have already said we won’t put it out." Cllr Munby
“I think we should collectively express a view and push for another leaflet to be produced while there is still time.”
A spokesman for Rotheram’s campaign said: “The campaign leaflet rightfully reminds people in the Liverpool City Region that in the 80’s a Tory Government of the day sat around the cabinet table in Downing Street and contemplated the managed decline of our city. That’s why the Tories have never recovered in our area.
“The transformation of our cityscape and our fortunes can be traced back to the investment of a Labour Government and billions of pounds of European structural funding. We are proud of our campaign - we have delivered nearly one million leaflets and are the only political party to engage with voters in all six corners of the City Region.”
Rotheram was selected as Labour’s candidate in the mayoral race in August last year.
He is a close ally of party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whom he served as Private Parliamentary Secretary for.
The Metro mayor election will take place on May 4.