Liverpool Wavertree: huge investment in hospital may not save Labour

By Chris Bradley

A previously safe Labour seat in Liverpool may be lost – despite a government announcement on a new hospital.

The Royal Liverpool University Hospital in the Wavertree constituency is to be rebuilt at the cost of £450 million over the next five years.

Luciana Berger is Labour candidate for the seat, currently held by party colleague Jane Kennedy.

She said: “The investment will create state of the art facilities, providing jobs and world leading research. The work will be finished by 2015, leaving Liverpool with a brand new hospital.”

And in her blog, Miss Berger, who hopes to succeed party colleague, Jane Kennedy, as the MP for the inner city constituency said: “Labour’s commitment to Liverpool is second to none.”

Her main opponent Liberal Democrat candidate Colin Eldridge, said: “The announcement has come following a lengthy and persistent campaign by local groups, including the Liberal Democrats,
To bring the much needed funding. I’m ecstatic to hear this announcement.”

But the boost to the local economy and improved health provision may not help Labour.

In an opinion poll last month in the Liverpool Echo and Daily Post Mr Eldridge polled 50.5% and Miss Berger 48.4%, with actor Ricky Tomlinson expexcted to be standing for the Socialist Labour Party.

And there are other concerns for Labour in its recent stronghold of Liverpool: in Garston and Halewood sitting Labour MP Maria Eagle gained only 19% compared to 66% for Lib Dem candidate Paula Keaveny.

Riverside MP Louise Ellman trails Liberal Democrat rival Richard Marbrow by 6 points.

Two saving graces for Labour may be Stephen Twigg, MP for West Derby who is polling in the high 60s and Stephen Rotherham who gained 50% support in his Walton seat.