Labour MP's selfie-loving daughter and nepotism row

Labour MP’s selfie-loving daughter becomes embroiled in a nepotism row as she becomes favourite to win battle for his local council seat after he stands aside

  • Ellie Byrne, 22, is favourite to win tomorrow’s poll in safe Everton seat 
  • Would replace her father Ian, 49, who stood down from local authority in January
  • Miss Byrne was elected by party members at a meeting of the Everton branch from shortlist of four 
  • The party added that her selection was nothing to do with her background but because she is ‘active’ in the area 

Labour has been rocked by a ‘nepotism’ row after a Corbynista MP stood down from his council seat – only for his daughter to be selected as a candidate for the resulting by-election.

Selfie-loving university graduate Ellie Byrne, 22, is favourite to win tomorrow’s poll in the safe Everton seat on Liverpool City Council.

She would replace her father Ian, 49, who was elected MP for Liverpool West Derby in 2019 and who stood down from the local authority in January.

He has been described as Ian ‘Two Jobs’ Byrne for holding on to his council seat for more than two years after winning his Westminster constituency.

The row comes despite the national Labour Party having taken over the candidate selection process in Liverpool after damning reports into the council by the Government and Labour. In its conclusions last year, Labour found evidence of ‘bullying, misogyny and a toxic culture’ in the city group.

Selfie-loving university graduate Ellie Byrne, 22, (pictured) is favourite to win tomorrow’s poll in the safe Everton seat on Liverpool City Council

Labour said Miss Byrne, believed to have studied law and history at Liverpool University, was selected by party members at a meeting of the Everton branch from a shortlist of four. The party added that her selection was nothing to do with her background but because she is ‘active’ in the area.

But, in an anonymous email, a group calling themselves ‘Labour Activists in Everton Ward’ wrote: ‘Does Labour condone nepotism as a way to recruit councillor candidates? To say we are startled by this information, that the candidate for this by-election is actually the daughter of the outgoing councillor, is an understatement.’

Frank Prendergast, a former Everton councillor who is no longer a party member, told local independent newspaper The Post her selection was ‘a stitch-up’.

And Kevin Robinson-Hale, former chairman of Everton Labour, who quit the party in 2020 and is standing against Miss Byrne for the Green Party, said: ‘It’s not a good look for Liverpool Labour to select a candidate who is the daughter of the outgoing councillor and a local MP.’

Richard Kemp, the Liberal Democrat leader on Liverpool City Council, said: ‘The Labour Party claims the selection was all done properly but there are aggrieved members.’

Miss Byrne’s social media shows her having taken an interest in politics since at least last year, when she posted pictures of herself helping at a food bank and attending an event with her father and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. She is also believed to have worked as a trainee at a local law centre.

Paul Bryan, editor of independent Liverpool online newspaper Liverpolitan, said: ‘What we have here is the prospect of a father handing over the baton to his young daughter, as if it was some kind of private enterprise.

‘Given everything we have recently learned about suspected corruption, wouldn’t you want to avoid giving even the slightest impression of impropriety?’

But Sheila Murphy, who was appointed by Labour’s National Executive Committee to oversee the clean-up of the Liverpool Labour group, said: ‘Ellie has been a member of the Labour Party for some time. She was selected as part of a rigorous process based on her own ability.’

Alfie Hincks, a fellow Labour councillor in Everton, called Miss Byrne a ‘breath of fresh air’.

In a statement, a Labour spokesman said: ‘Local party members selected Ellie Byrne as Labour’s candidate for the upcoming Everton ward by-election.

‘She is now campaigning hard to win the votes of residents in Everton on April 7.’ Miss Byrne and her father did not respond to requests for comment.

Miss Byrne’s social media shows her having taken an interest in politics since at least last year, when she posted pictures of herself helping at a food bank and attending an event with her father and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (pictured). She is also believed to have worked as a trainee at a local law centre

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