A remarkable row has erupted in the Liverpool Labour party after councillors said they will REFUSE to hand out a leaflet for the party鈥檚 Metro Mayor candidate Steve Rotheram.
An email sent by cabinet member Cllr Steve Munby to dozens of fellow Labour councillors and Mayor Joe Anderson suggests he and others are furious with the latest leaflet being put out on behalf of the Walton MP - with just weeks to go to the crucial vote.
The email, leaked to the ECHO, criticises the Labour leaflet, which is titled 鈥淭he Tories don鈥檛 understand us, they never have鈥?and includes pictures of Margaret Thatcher, the Toxteth Riots and the Albert Dock - prior to its renovation.
In his email, Cllr Munby says the email 鈥渕akes the Ed stone look like a masterpiece鈥?- referring to the much-malinged stone plinth of pledges unveiled by former Labour leader Ed Miliband ahead of his failed 2015 General Election bid.
A spokesperson for Steve Rotheram claims the campaign 鈥渞ightfully鈥?reminds people of their woes under the Tory Government in the 80s.
But Cllr Munby added: 鈥淭he center piece is a picture of the Albert Dock before renovation and the 1981 riots and the headline is the Tories don鈥檛 understand us, they never have.?/p>
He added: 鈥淭he rationale having spoken to (Labour regional organiser) Liam Didsbury and Nick Small (Labour Liverpool councillor) is that we are polling so badly that we have to appeal to our core vote by attacking the Tories. That鈥檚 as maybe.?/p>
Cllr Munby adds that putting a picture of the Albert Dock 鈥減re-Heseltine鈥?shows 鈥渢he one good thing the Tories have done for Liverpool and shows that it鈥檚 the people who designed the leaflet, not the Tories who don鈥檛 understand Liverpool.?/p>
He continues, stating that he cannot think of 鈥渁nything more damaging鈥?to Steve Rotheram and likely to encourage voting for other candidates than 鈥渢o put out a leaflet evoking the 80s, which reminds them of Militant.?/p>
The firey email then suggests that instead of running on Labour鈥檚 鈥減ositive record in local government鈥? it 鈥渢rashes all the work we鈥檝e done to change the city in the last seven years.?/p>
The strength of feeling that Riverside Cllr Munby - and others it would seem - have against the leaflet is displayed when he reveals that a number of councillors have refused to deliver it as they campaign for a Labour victory next month.
He wrote: 鈥淲ith the exception of Nick (Small), all the councillors I have spoken to in Riverside are deeply unhappy about the leaflet.
鈥淢any of us have already said we won鈥檛 put it out. I have made my views known to Sheila Murphy (Steve Rotheram鈥檚 campaign manager) and Liam Didsbury.
鈥淚 hink we should collectively express a view and push for another leaflet to be produced while there is still time.?/p>
The ECHO contacted Cllr Munby regarding the email but he did not want to comment.
A spokesman for Steve Rotheram said: 鈥淭he campaign leaflet rightfully reminds people in the Liverpool City Region that in the 80鈥檚 a Tory Government of the day sat around the cabinet table in Downing Street and contemplated the managed decline of our city. That鈥檚 why the Tories have never recovered in our area.
鈥淭he transformation of our cityscape and our fortunes can be traced back to the investment of a Labour Government and billions of pounds of European structural funding. We are proud of our campaign - we have delivered nearly 1million leaflets and are the only political party to engage with voters in all six corners of the City Region.?/p>
The Metro Mayor election will take place on Thursday May 4.