Labour goes to war over the selection of Luciana Berger for Wavertree
The Labour party has descended into civil war over Luciana Berger's success in winning the candidacy for Wavertree.
Last night Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle broke cover branding Miss Berger a "student politician" and questioned her support for Israel, views she shares with Jane Kennedy, the outgoing Wavertree MP who supported her campaign.
Mr Kilfoyle and Ms Kennedy may well have history, but his intervention has merely added fuel to a fire that was already alight since the decision was announced on Sunday.
He has given voice to a feeling of discontent shared with others in the local Labour party.
They are unhappy that a local candidate has been beaten by a young southener perceived as being a career politician. Some believe that she would not have done so well - winning by a 2 to 1 margin - without the support of Ms Kennedy.
Others say the party should and will rally around Miss Berger, after all 94 out around 150 voted for her. So it's not as if she was imposed on the local party. Ultimately there may be some who do not like Miss Berger, but they dislike her Liberal Democrat rival Colin Eldridge even more.
Mr Kilfoyle is one of the few Labour politicians locally who is free to speak his mind on this issue, others will be forced to keep their peace.
What is clear is that a huge rift has opened up which the Lib Dems will be able to mercilessly exploit.
The Lib Dems will also exploit Liverpool Labour leader Joe Anderson's backing for Liverpool councillor Wendy Simon who secured about half the votes Miss Berger had in the contest.
Last night the following statement from Cllr Anderson was still on wendysimonforwavertree.co.uk :
"Winning Wavertree is going to be very tough in the short period before the General Election. That is why I believe our best chance is with a local candidate. Wendy Simon is the local choice who will always put Wavertree first in everything she does. As a Wavertree Labour Party member, constituent and leader of Liverpool Labour Councillors, I know Wendy has the qualities needed and can win Wavertree for Labour".
No doubt the printers in the Lib Dems' Smithdown Road office are already primed to print off leaflets reproducing every word.
This argument matters because the motivation and energy of the Liverpool Labour party will have an impact on the outcome of the seat at the general election.
What resources will the local party, which is now clearly divided, going to be willing to commit to winning Wavertree?
In May resources will be squeezed. Labour members of the council who form the backbone of the party in the city desperate to get back into power after 12 years in opposition. Give them a choice of whether they would rather have the council or retain Wavertree most would plump for winning the council.
Miss Berger will be able to use the student members that she has already effectively got on side, but will that be enough?
If Labour want to hang on to Wavertree the party needs to get a grip and quickly there are only 100 days until May 6.