Liverpool Lib Dems welcome Luciana Berger

On behalf of Liverpool Liberal Democrats, I have  welcomed the news that Luciana Berger has joined the Liberal Democrats. I do so not only as the Leader of the Lib Dems in Liverpool but also as the now ousted Lib Dem PPC for Liverpool Wavertree!

Yesterday was an exciting day which started at 9.15 with a call from Jo Swinson giving me the news. I was able to tell her that I was certain that Liverpool Lib Dems would be supportive of this. We had already agreed as a Party to not fight against as a Change UK candidate. We were unsure what to do if she tried to stand as an Independent but I suspect that we would have come to the same decision.

Basically, we were able to move to this position with little debate because we have always respected her as an individual and have tried to work with her both locally and nationally. Last night, we held an emergency Executive Committee in accordance with the Party’s protocols and after hearing from James Gurling, the chair of the Party’s Federal Campaigns and Elections Committee,  endorsed her membership of the Party and then she became  officially the Lib Dem MP for Liverpool Wavertree!

Luciana arrived in Liverpool at the 2010 General Election where was a tense campaign in which we were quite aggressive (more than I would have liked) about the fact that she was arriving fresh from London and had no Liverpool roots at all. That, of course, is not our tradition. We are used to helping work up our local patch and riding a tide of support that we helped to create.

Since then she made her home in this City, got to know her patch well and has given birth to proud young Scousers who we hope will “lern to tork proper!”

We have always respected Luciana even when she was a Labour MP and have come to know her better in the last few months. She has endured an appalling hate attack in the Labour Party since the rise to power within the Party of Corbyn and his cult.  She was female, Jewish and bright. Unforgiveable sins in the eyes of many Labour members. She was subject to vicious abuse both inside her Party and externally. Even as a Labour MP we extended a hand of friendship to her to try and help her.

Liverpool Wavertree Constituency Labour Party is not a good organisation to be part of. Of the four Labour councillors elected this May one has resigned first as Lord Mayor and then as a Council for distributing racist video. Another one has been suspended for sexism including calling local Labour MEP a f*****g b***h on a video filmed is a pub!

Locally, she has worked hard and has not always been on the same side as the Lib Dem team on local issues. However, as many Lib Dems will tell you MPs and councillors in the same Party often have to disagree because they have different jobs and see things with a different perspective.

Nationally she has become renowned for her work on mental health where she has often teamed up with Norman Lamb on an issue dear to both their hearts. I have met her frequently at the Health Select Committee because of the work that I do nationally as health spokesperson at the LGA.

Together the Lib Dems local and nationally will need to work with Luciana to decide what her next steps are. I hope that she feels as comfortable with her new political family as she felt uncomfortable with her last one. It’s great to have her on our team. Although Red is very popular for some reasons in Liverpool an increasing number of prefer an orange rosette!

What a great team of strong determined women MPs we now have in the Party. What a great team of 16 Lib Dem MPs we now have. I am sure that Luciana will not be the last MP to join us. Bring it on. Let’s get cracking with the General Election as soon as a no deal Brexit is safely in its box

* Cllr Richard Kemp CBE is the Leader of the Liverpool Liberal Democrats.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • You’re a class act, Richard. Well said.

  • With each new MP, labour or tory, who joins our ranks we become a broader party, with a potentially broader public appeal and the capacity to entertain a broader range of ideas, without in anyway betraying our core principles. Because of this we become less in the grasp of small groups promoting particular interests. It is a very positive moment for our party and presents us with an opportunity to reach our to all those on the middle ground of British politics.

  • Paul Barker 6th Sep '19 - 4:44pm

    Time is on our side in this situation of developing realignment, it seems unlikely that any Election can be before December in any case, why not delay it till next Spring ?

  • Thank you Richard for your insightful article. It’s great to learn more about what happens behind the curtain in these scenarios, and I’m pleased that everyone involved locally to be working positively together.

    Inevitably rival political parties and pundits will be trying to latch onto previous differences of opinion, and things said that might appear to contradict the current situation. However, the whole world of politics is rooted in the idea that we want other people to change their minds, in many cases admitting that they were previously wrong about something. And yet in politics we are also very quick to condemn those who have changed their mind on something, using the fact they’ve apparently changed their mind as the stick with which to beat them. Sadly, that attitude is going to continue so long as we are stuck in a system dominated by two-parties and using First Past the Post.

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