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Thursday 25 August 2016

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Liverpool TUSC meet to launch campaign for a socialist Mersey Metro Mayor

Merseyside Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) have organised a public meeting on Saturday 3rd September to launch a campaign for a socialist Mersey Metro Mayor.

TUSC argues that the newly-created position, to be elected next May, could be a powerful platform to stand up for Merseyside and build a mass anti-austerity struggle that could take on and defeat the Tory government.

The launch of the TUSC campaign follows the recent announcement that members of the Labour Party in Merseyside and Halton voted to select the Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram as Labour's Metro Mayor candidate, over the two right-wing candidates, the current mayor of Liverpool city, Joe Anderson, and the Liverpool Wavertree MP, Luciana Berger.

The TUSC candidate for the Liverpool city mayor in the May 2016 elections, Roger Bannister, is now hoping to meet Steve Rotheram to explore "a meeting of minds on fighting cuts". Roger, a member of the UNISON public sector trade union's national executive committee, came in well ahead of the Tories in Britain's eighth biggest city in May's contest (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17240/06-05-2016/fourth-place-for-tusc-mayoral-candidate-in-britains-eighth-biggest-city). Looking forward to next year's Metro Mayor election he said:

"I commend Merseyside and Halton's Labour members for rejecting the austerity agenda defended by the likes of Joe Anderson and Luciana Berger.

"In May's mayoral elections in Liverpool I argued for: no more cuts to council services, no cuts to our colleges, save Liverpool Women's Hospital and other threatened NHS facilities, and to defend the Merseyrail train guards and their service. I won over 5% of the vote.

"Now I'm hoping to meet with Steve to see whether there's a meeting of minds between us about how the Metro Mayor position could be used to fight against cuts.

A platform to resist the cuts

"The Metro Mayor brings together the city of Liverpool, the Merseyside boroughs of St Helens, Knowsley, Sefton and Wirral, and Halton in Cheshire. It will provide a powerful platform to lead a mass campaign which, along with Jeremy Corbyn's hoped for re-election to the Labour leadership, could be a turning point in the fight against austerity.

"Steve has called for a 'renegotiation' with the Tory government of the devolution deal which set-up the Metro Mayor position. Getting any blood out of the Tory stone will need massive demonstrations and quite possibly industrial action. I'll be hoping to discuss with Steve how sufficient pressure can be brought to wring serious concessions out of Westminster.

"I also believe the Liverpool city council executive mayoral position held by Joe Anderson should now be scrapped, as should the whole town hall gravy train of 'cabinet' and 'additional allowances' for councillors.

"Democratic power should return to the hands of the full council, the members of which should receive only a basic allowance instead of the bloated figures we see now. The money saved would be well spent on reopening services shut by Mayor Joe Anderson and company!

"To discuss these essential questions, I will be speaking at the public meeting organised by Merseyside TUSC on Saturday 3 September. Everyone opposed to austerity is welcome to attend and I would extend a warm invite to any comrades from the Labour Party!"

The meeting in Liverpool will be followed with separate meetings in all of the boroughs in the Liverpool City Region covered by the Mersey Metro Mayor.

Public meeting: Campaign for a socialist Mersey Mayor
Saturday 3rd September
12pm, The Casa, 29 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BQ
For further information email: [email protected]