Wirral MBC’s deputy leader has complained of a “hard-left stitch-up” after being deselected amid claims Momentum is seeking to dominate the Labour-run council.
Bernie Mooney (Lab), who is current deputy leader and cabinet member for children and families, was told she had been deselected following a dispute over breaches of party procedures, and has spoken out against the “absolutely disgraceful” level of bullying and harrassment in the local party.
Her departure comes after council leader Phil Davies announced in October that he was to stand down in May - a departure which left Cllr Mooney a frontrunner to replace him - and local MP Frank Field left the party. Three other councillors have quit Labour to become Independent.
In October, Cllr Mooney was selected to be Labour candidate for the Liscard ward for the forthcoming local elections. But the Liverpool Echo has reported how the meeting was followed by a “series of complaints” and claims that the process was “not fairly done”, with the local campaign forum, which selects candidates, stating that a “number of procedures” had been breached.
Speaking to LGC this morning, Cllr Mooney described the situation as a “hard-left stitch-up”.
“I’m still shell-shocked. A group of people worked tirelessley to overturn my position because they wanted a Momentum candidate in Liscard,” she said.
”This group is against everything that the council are doing.. They are people who have rejoined the party since Corbyn was elected.”
She said many of the people in question had also protested against the council’s growth company and a local golf resort but were against ”almost everything” it did.
“I have been a member of the Labour party for the last 40 years and have been loyal to every national Labour leader in that time, because that’s what a democracy is. But I don’t like what’s happening in Labour,” she said.
”All this anti-semitism is distracting us from the level of bullying and harrassment going on, which has been absolutely disgraceful in Wirral. We have taken our eye off it.”
Cllr Mooney estimated there have been dozens of complaints of bullying in the Labour party in her region recently.
”The political system in the north west has been infiltrated by these people from the hard left, and there is nothing we can do to fight them,” she said. ”If they can do this to me, then where does it stop?”
As an example of the bullying, Cllr Mooney cited an incident in which she was reprimanded by the party for clapping a leaving speech made by Moira McLaughlin, who left Labour to become Independent. “I think that incident demonstrates what’s going on here,” she said.
Cllr Mooney said she would not be joining the group of Independents on the council, which is formed of previously Labour members.