Suspended Morrison quits to battle Berger

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MP Luciana Berger © JMU Journalism; Councillor Jake Morrison © Jake Morrison/Flickr

MP Luciana Berger © JMU Journalism; Councillor Jake Morrison © Jake Morrison/Flickr

Suspended Labour councillor, Jake Morrison, has now quit the party and announced he will stand against Wavertree MP Luciana Berger at the next general election.

The 20-year-old, who recently declared he would not stand for re-election to Liverpool City Council, was involved in a row with Ms Berger when she complained to party bosses of Morrison’s “complete lack of teamwork and respect”, and failure to follow a local campaigning strategy.

After continuing the argument with MP Berger in public, Morrison was suspended by the Labour Party earlier this monththough he will now stand as an independent at the general election and serve the remainder of his term on the council as an independent.

He won his seat in the Wavertree ward in 2011, becoming the city’s youngest ever councillor in the process.

In his resignation statement, Mr Morrison said: “I whole heartedly believed that I belonged in the Labour Party, and that I would feel at home as a member and as a Labour Councillor. Sadly this has not turned out to be the case.

Councillor Jake Morrison speaking at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool © Jake Morrison/Flickr

Councillor Jake Morrison speaking at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool © Jake Morrison/Flickr

“I am a community campaigner, I don’t need a script to engage with members of the public. And if people come to me with issues, my responses do not need to be appropriately agreed by the MP.

“I am not anti-Labour, I am principled, and I believe I can do a better job as the local MP than the incumbent. The Labour Party has shown some leg recently on policies and they don’t sit comfortably with me. Also the talk of a possible coalition with the Liberal Democrats makes me want to vomit.”

Mr Morrison also cited Labour’s stance on issues such as the bedroom tax saying that “people need a real alternative, not more of the same”.

He later said on Twitter: “I’m sorry to anyone I have let down. Some say I’m naive, stupid, that I’m having a tantrum, I’m an idiot. Etc etc. I call it standing up for what is right.”

Ms Berger, who was elected at the 2010 general election with a majority of more than 7,000, is a Shadow Minister for Climate Change in Ed Miliband’s Labour parliamentary set-up.

She is yet to make any public comment on Morrison’s decision.

Liverpool Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said on Twitter: “Deeply disappointed at Cllr Jake Morrison’s behaviour and his decision to leave the party.”

Wavertree MP Luciana Berger after winning the parliamentary seat in 2010. Picture by Vegard Grott

Wavertree MP Luciana Berger after winning the parliamentary seat in 2010. Picture by Vegard Grott

A Labour North West spokesperson said: “It is a shame that Jake Morrison has decided to resign from the Labour Party.”

Lord Storey, the former Liberal Democrat councillor who was defeated in 2011, said the Lib Dems should give Morrison an “uncluttered run” at the general election by not standing in the Wavertree constituency.

He said: “Why should we stand when someone else is taking a principled stand about the way party politics is run?

“As someone who was beaten by Jake Morrison himself, this shows there has never been any bitterness on my part, but a realisation that politics takes various forms and guises.

“Who would have thought in 2011 when Luciana Berger was hugging him at the count that two years later he’d be standing against her?”

About Ian Bolland, JMU Journalism