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6 May 2017
Liverpool City Region mayor election - almost 8,000 votes for TUSC
Hugh Caffrey - TUSC election agent to Roger Bannister
Roger Bannister standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) polled almost 8,000 first-preference votes for the city region mayor covering Merseyside and Halton, and out-polled Ukip in Liverpool itself. Although uncounted, it appears we won a similar number of second-preference votes.
Only TUSC highlighted the threat to the Merseyrail guards, RMT members who have taken repeated strike action against the Labour-run transport authority's "driver-only operation" plans. We received strong support from local RMT members.
Only TUSC showed that the city region mayor position could, despite its Tory-Blairite architects' intentions, be used to fight austerity, including closure of local facilities like the Liverpool Women's Hospital.
In the hustings and in the radio and TV media interviews, only Roger was able to propose a positive working-class alternative of a "people's Brexit for the 99%", against the pro-employer alternatives of Lib Dem 'remain' or Tory 'exit'.
This vindicates TUSC standing - none of these vital issues for working class and middle class people across the region would have been raised, let alone answered, in our absence.
The metro-mayor position has been foisted on a region which hasn't asked for it and doesn't want it. Turnout averaged 26% but was significantly below this in boroughs like Halton or St Helens, and turnout in working class areas across the region was clearly very small.
What saved the limited legitimacy of the position was undoubtedly May's calling of the snap general election, which turned out part of the major parties' core vote and cut across the vote for smaller parties like TUSC or the Greens. This also cut across the council byelections we contested in Liverpool Wavertree and Wirral Claughton, but where TUSC's profile has been raised and renewed.
TUSC has broken new ground in this election, with our election address having reached households covering around 1.5 million people, and wide areas in which we have never stood before but where new supporters now want to get actively involved. Our campaigning activity hit the high streets of every borough and drew in our local election campaigns in Wavertree and Claughton.
Set against that, the TUSC vote is modest, but it represents an important political investment for the future. And locally, it leaves newly elected Labour metro-mayor Steve Rotheram with some important questions to answer. TUSC will play its full part in continuing to support the Merseyrail guards, defend threatened public services, and fight back against austerity.
Votes for City Region mayor - whole region:
TUSC 7,881 (2.7%)
Get the Coppers off the Jury 729
Lib Dems 19,751
Women's Equality 4,287
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 6 May 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.