LABOUR'S candidate for Merseyside Police Commissioner will be former Liverpool Wavertree MP Jane Kennedy.
The one-time government minister was contacted by party bosses yesterday to be told she would run for the £85,000-a-year post which comes with the power to hold the force accountable to the community.
It came after a ballot of Merseyside’s estimated 5,000 Labour party members.
Mrs Kennedy beat another former MP in Walton’s Peter Kilfoyle on to the ballot paper, as well as current police authority chair Bill Weightman.
Her campaign caused ruptures in the Labour party, with the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson supporting her and engaging in a war of words with Merseyside-born shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, who gave his backing to Mr Kilfoyle.
Mrs Kennedy said: “I am delighted to be Labour’s candidate. I will work hard to win the support of the people of Merseyside too.
“Since coming into office, the Tory-led government have attacked the police and undermined the fight against crime. Police budgets have been cut by 20%, nearly double what experts and Labour said could be cut.
“Over 16,000 police officers across the country are being cut. In Merseyside, 323 will be lost as a result of these cuts.”
“I will be a strong champion for Merseyside Police and the communities they serve. I will hold the Chief Constable and his officers to account.
“I will build public support for the police and the work that they do. I will fight privatisation and make a strong case for more resources for Merseyside.”
The election will be contested in November, but, as the official Labour Party candidate Mrs Kennedy will be widely expected to become Merseyside’s first police commissioner.
None of the other major parties have put forward a candidate yet.
The Liberal Democrats have not even decided on the kind of polling system they will use to select a name and the Conservatives are not expected to name their runner until July.
Mrs Kennedy worked extensively with Northern Ireland’s police force while on the Labour front benches.