Rebel MP Bob Wareing axed by Labour
Sep 17 2007 by Ben Turner, Liverpool Echo
VETERAN MP Bob Wareing today said he was “liberated” after being ditched by his consituents after 24 years.
The 77-year-old yesterday lost his nomination for the safe West Derby seat to New Labour poster boy Stephen Twigg – the man famous for beating Michael Portillo in the 1997 General Election.
But Mr Wareing today said he was relieved to quit the party he joined 60 years ago and vowed to stand as an independent in the next election.
He described the decision to ditch him as a reaction to his constant opposition to government policy.
Mr Wareing said: “The party I joined 60 years ago is not the same party I have now resigned from.
“I thought long and hard about this, but I will not stand by and let the people of West Derby, who I have represented for 24 years, be taken over by the New Labour Mafia.”
But sources in the West Derby constituency party told the ECHO he had been heavily defeated in the vote.
It took three rounds for Mr Twigg to get the required 50% plus one vote he needed, but he got three times as many votes as Mr Wareing.
Mr Twigg said his first task was finding a house.
The 40-year-old, who lives in London, said: “I will be moving to Liverpool immediately and will be looking for a house.”
He said gun crime, in the wake of the shooting of 11-year-old school boy Rhys Jones, was among issues on top of his agenda.
The Oxford graduate said: “Bob gave a very magnanimous and gracious speech after the result and I am sure I can work with him and work in the best interests of the party.”
Sources revealed Clubmoor ward councillor Roz Gladden also got twice as many votes as the sitting MP.
Mrs Gladden said: “Finishing second to a former education minister is not bad. We must focus now on taking over from the Lib Dems at the council.”
Mr Waring claimed his high-profile opposition to the Iraq war and votes against the government on key issues prompted efforts to replace him with a New Labour “yes man”.
But now Mr Waring faces the prospect of working with his replacement as he will officially remain MP until Gordon Brown calls a General Election.
City Labour leader, Cllr Joe Anderson said: “I can imagine Bob will be disappointed, but the constituency has made a democratic choice and felt they wanted someone fresh.
“I hope they won’t be any friction or animosity –the Labour party comes first and the most important thing is improving the outlook for the people of West Derby.”