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Liverpool mayor will not run as Labour candidate for election in spring

Written by on 1 January 2021

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson has said he will not run as the Labour candidate in the spring elections after his bail was extended.

After being arrested on 4 December on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation, the 62-year-old directly elected mayor was bailed to 31 December.

Merseyside Police has now extended his bail until 19 February.

Anderson’s arrest – alongside four other men – came as part of the force’s “Operation Aloft” investigation into fraud surrounding building and development contracts in Liverpool.

In a statement released on Thursday, Anderson said he was “disappointed” with the decision to re-bail, as he said he had “answered all their questions”.

He added that the “decision does change everything”.

Anderson said: “I maintain that the police investigation will confirm I have done nothing wrong, and my name and reputation will be exonerated.

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“However, it is now clear that the speed of the police investigation means it will not conclude in the next few days as I hoped.

“The timing of the extended bail notice means that it is in the best interests of the Labour Party to select a new candidate for the mayoral election.

“I will continue to fight to both demonstrate that I am innocent of any wrongdoing, but also to protect my legacy as mayor of my city of which I am proud.”

Anderson had previously said he would step back from his role following his arrest.

He has been the directly elected mayor of Liverpool since 2012, when the role was created.

The four other men also re-bailed to the same date as Anderson were a 33-year-old man from West Derby, Liverpool, and a 46-year-old man from Ainsdale, who were also held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation.

A 25-year-old man from Ormskirk and a 72-year-old man from Aigburth, in Liverpool, were detained on suspicion of witness intimidation and also re-bailed until February.