REBEL Liverpool MP Bob Wareing last night said he would quit Labour and stand as an independent at the next general election after being de-selected by the party.
Mr Wareing who has represented West Derby for 24 years was yesterday defeated in a re-selection ballot by former Labour MP and ex-education minister Stephen Twigg.
Mr Wareing hit out at what he described as the “New Labour Mafia,” blaming a concerted effort to remove him. And he revealed he would now be ending his 60-year membership of the party.
Leader of the Labour party in Liverpool Joe Anderson last night paid tribute to “a great MP for his constituents”, but said the local party had decided it was time for a change.
Alec McFadden, president of Merseyside TUC, said Mr Wareing had been a stalwart of the trade union movement and “everything that was progressive”.
But council leader Warren Bradley, who is a Liberal Democrat, said Mr Wareing had been treated “deplorably” by Labour.
Last night, Mr Twigg said he was very pleased to have been made the official candidate and would move “immediately” to the constituency from his current London home.
He took the seat after the election held at Holly Lodge Girls College, Queen’s Drive went to a third round and saw Mr Twigg defeat Liverpool councillor Roz Gladden, Labour’s spokeswoman on social care and communities on the city council.
Mr Wareing was eliminated in the second round, after the three other candidates, ex-councillor Martin Cummins from Norris Green, Cherie Hill, from Ellesmere Port, and Floyd Millen, who is from the Midlands lost at the first stage.
Mr Twigg said: “I am very pleased to have got the support here.”
He said the main issues in the area were crime and anti-social behaviour and he hoped to use his experience to tackle these.
“I sensed going round meeting the members, that people put a lot of emphasis on the experience that I can bring to the job.”
He said he first came to the constituency in March and had visited on occasions after that to help campaigning before May’s local elections.
During these visits he earned the support and was able to show his commitment he added.
“I certainly want to work with other MPs to raise the profile of Merseyside, but my top priority will be the people of West Derby.”
The result follows months of speculation about the seat, with several high profile names, including former Blur drummer Dave Rowntree, showing an interest.
Last night, Mr Wareing told the Daily Post the Labour party he joined 60 years ago was very different from today’s party.
He said: “I was proud to be in the party of Clem Atlee, Aneurin Bevan and Harold Wilson.
“However, today I have decided not to leave the future representation of West Derby constituency to a small cabal, but to allow the electors of West Derby to make their own choice at the next general election.
“It is they who elected me (more than 19,000 last time) and it is they who have a right to choose.
“I will therefore, be ending my 60 years membership of the party to stand as a Labour Independent candidate at the next election.
He said he would be resigning the Labour whip but would continue to serve his constituents according to the socialist and democratic principles which had guided him in his 24 years in Parliament.
“The party leadership (under Blair and Brown) have regarded me as a thorn in their side as I rebelled against their betrayal of the basic principles of the Labour Party.
“Anti-Labour policies, such as privatisation, tuition and top-up fees for students and the stock-transfer of council houses, with the threat that no repairs would be carried out if they remained under council control, forced tenants to concede to New Labour’s wishes.
“Worst of all has been the disaster of the invasion of Iraq, an illegal war in defiance of the United Nations.
“I was proud to march, with nearly two million others, against that policy.”
The rebel with many causes >>>