A defiant Luciana Berger is still confident she will win her bid to become the new MP for Wavertree, despite Ricky Tomlinson’s protest last week, and claims she didn’t get selected "according to a pub quiz".
The 28-year-old Labour candidate from Wembley was slammed by famous Scouse actor Ricky Tomlinson for apparently having very little knowledge about the city in which she will stand, including not knowing who Bill Shankly was.
Tomlinson could become the Socialist Labour Party candidate for Wavertree, if he gets selected by Arthur Scargill's party later this week.
But fearless former NUS official Berger thinks if legendary Liverpool manager Shankly was still around, she’d get his full support.
In an exclusive interview, she told JMU Journalism: “I didn’t get selected
according to a pub quiz. The one thing I know very strongly and having
done my homework now about Bill Shankly is that he was a very proud
and strong socialist and a very strong supporter of the Labour party.
“He would tell anyone to get out and vote Labour and that’s what matters.”
After being selected by Labour party members just over two weeks ago,
an interview with the Liverpool Echo revealed Berger didn’t know who
Shankly was, or who sang Ferry Across the Mersey.
Berger is surprised at how much attention her southern roots have gained
and argues that she loves Liverpool and wants to make it her home.
“I’m not new to the city, I started coming here ten years ago in the year 2000.
I love this city and its people and Liverpool will be my home," she insisted.
“What matters to the people is what I now, as a selected Labour candidate,
am going to do for them, that’s all they care about... it’s not where I’m from.
It’s about my commitment to the city, my commitment to the constituency, and how I’m going to help people.”
Tomlinson was so outraged at Labour’s choice of candidate that he expressed his intention to stand against the Londoner, who he accused of being ‘parachuted’ into the city.
In response, Berger wasn’t fazed by her potential opponent. She said: “I’d ask Ricky to speak to the members that selected me. I’d ask him to speak to the people of Liverpool and Wavertree Labour Party members who had a choice. It was thorough their very decisive choice that there can be no ambiguity; I won very, very clearly on the first round.
“All I can say is that I’ve had so many people on the doorstep tell me that they know about the prospect of Ricky standing and that he to them signifies the Militant past of Liverpool, and he is not someone they would be inclined to support and be voting for.”
Berger will be standing against local councillor Colin Eldridge, running for the Liberal Democrats, who have made the seat their number one target in the North West. The Conservatives have selected Andrew Garnett who has said he is looking forward to a "good clean fight" during the campaign. Other candidates include Derek Grue from the federalist English Democrats Party.
By Louisa Collington
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Luciana Berger talks at her constituency headquarters after a day putting out campaign leaflets