The cabinet member who oversees St Helens Council’s finances has been deselected by Labour – but claims he has stepped away from politics due to ill health.
Coun Anthony Johnson, cabinet member for collaborative services, was due to be interviewed at a Labour selection meeting last Thursday after being shortlisted in Bold ward for the upcoming local elections.
However, Coun Johnson did not attend the selection meeting.
Labour sources have told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that a vote took place in his absence as no notification had been received by the panel about his withdrawal prior to the selection meeting.
Coun Johnson was subsequently deselected by the party.
The Bold councillor claims he did make it known that he would be stepping down and maintains he decided not to contest the seat due to numerous health issues.
Coun Johnson said: “Over the last few years I have had a number of health concerns including a heart attack, pneumonia and multiple bouts of cellulitis.
“I am now still having major issues with my feet and I am in constant pain and struggling to walk.
“This led me to reflect on my position and I decided not to contest the Bold seat.
“So, after ensuring that a replacement candidate was available, I did not attend the selection meeting and forwarded my desire to step down at this time.”
Coun Johnson said he may look to return to active politics in the future if his health improves.
Following his deselection, Mark Hattersley was selected as the Labour candidate for Bold.
Mr Hattersley’s daughter, Robyn Hattersley, was recently selected as the Labour candidate for Thatto Heath, with current mayor Pat Ireland choosing not to stand for re-selection.