How did Ellie Byrne inherit her father's council seat?
Some local activists are calling it 'a national scandal' in the making - but one rival candidate says 'she’s very young but the best girl got it'
Dear readers — earlier this week we received a tip that the “teenage” daughter of an MP has been selected as the Labour candidate for an upcoming council by-election in Liverpool. But is she really a teenager, did she beat the other candidates on the merits, and is there an element of sexism about the whispers against Ellie Byrne? We’ve been having a look at the claims and have a report below.
In other news, we were featured in the industry website HoldTheFrontPage yesterday, about the challenge to independent journalism and our mission to create a sustainable model for local news. The piece quotes Mollie’s editor’s note, which has continued to get lots of shares online. You can read the story here.
Local news in brief
The owner of Geek Retreat, a St Helens games and comics shop, was thinking about closing after a wave of criminal damage and verbal abuse. Since that news report, people have been popping in asking him to stay. “The messages of support have made me re-think the situation — it makes me think maybe I am wanted here,” he said. More here.
A local man is setting off from Scarisbrick to the Polish-Ukrainian border tomorrow in a 3.5 tonne truck filled with donations from Liverpool FC and supplies from Booths and Aldi. He will then pass the supplies to humanitarian aid organisations and drive home. More here.
The Royal Liver building is on sale for £90m. It was sold to Luxembourg-based Corestate Capital Holding for £48m in 2017. The building is Grade I listed and is home to HSBC, Everton FC and Princes Food. More here.
A delegation of the mayors of the Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester head to Ireland later this month to deepen cooperation, trade links and cultural links with the country. More here.
The Covid-19 case rate for the Liverpool City Region is 577.3, up 71.2% from the previous week. England’s case rate is 617.5, up 65.9%. Cases are lowest in St Helens, highest in Sefton.
🍜 We recommend trying Haku at Woodside Ferry Market in Birkenhead, who specialise in Japanese street food and are one of the few vendors to use fresh wasabi in their dishes. Find them here.
🚶♀️ Active Walks Sefton have a great range of walks every week, from the canals and parks in Bootle to the coastal paths along Sefton. Meet at Derby Park tomorrow at 10am for a gentle walk-and-talk led by experienced guides. More info here.
🎷 Liverpool-based saxophonist and composer Daniel Thorne features in this great radio show where he discusses poetry, the North and the comfort of art during the pandemic with Simon Armitage and Elizabeth Alker. Listen here.
📚 There’s a shared reading group at St Nick’s Church on Chapel Street every Wednesday evening from 6pm. The idea is to gather and listen while a Reader Leader reads a great novel, short story or poem aloud, and then group members are encouraged to respond and discuss together. Find out more here.
🥃 The Art School Restaurant in L1 are hosting an Irish Whiskey tasting night for St Patrick’s Day tomorrow. Expect a three-course menu with paired fine whiskies. More here.
🗞 A lovely read in Tatler about Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Edna Farley’s friendship, who began calling each other at the start of the pandemic as part of the Royal Voluntary Service’s Check In Chats. They met for the first time in person this weekend. “The two women, who were clearly very moved by the meeting, hugged and shed tears of joy as they finally greeted one another face-to-face.” Read here.
A beach scene in New Brighton last summer, by our regular photographer Hannah Cassidy.
By Harry Shukman, Mollie Simpson and Robin Brown
Next month, Ellie Byrne hopes to become Everton’s newest councillor. Her allies in the Labour Party describe her as a “breath of fresh air”, on her way to becoming one of the youngest councillors in the city. But her detractors — and she already has a few — say she’s a novice whose candidacy is a “stitch-up”. That’s because she is campaigning to win the council seat of her father, Ian Byrne, who is also the local MP.
Ellie set the rumour mill abuzz last week when she won the selection for Everton, where her dad gave up the council position that he has kept for the past two years despite also being the MP for West Derby. A photograph of her dressed up for a night out at a cocktail bar has been shared around by local activists, as has the suggestion that her father chose to resign his council seat to coincide with Ellie turning 18, so she could slot straight in and take over his ward.