Selection to find a successor to Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson has been reopened by the Labour Party.
Three female candidates, councillors Wendy Simon, Ann O’Byrne and Anna Rothery, had been in the running to stand for Labour in the city’s mayoral elections on May 6.
Mr Anderson, who has been the elected mayor since the role was created in 2012, announced on New Year’s Eve he would not stand for re-election following his arrest as part of a Merseyside Police fraud investigation.
On Tuesday, with less than two months until nomination papers must be submitted to the council, Labour announced it was re-opening the selection for the post.
The PA news agency understands the previous candidates will not be invited to apply.
A Labour spokesperson said: “After careful consideration, Labour is re-opening the selection for Liverpool mayor.
“We are committed to ensuring members are able to choose the right candidate to stand up against the Conservatives, lead Liverpool out of the coronavirus crisis and fight for the resources that the city desperately needs.”
New nominations must be in by midday on Thursday, with ballots to be distributed from March 8 and returned by March 29.
The council deadline to submit completed nomination papers is April 8.
Mr Anderson, 63, the directly elected mayor of the city, was arrested on December 4 on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation as part of the probe into building and development contracts in Liverpool.
He had already been selected as Labour’s candidate to run for a third term as mayor but was administratively suspended by the party pending the ongoing investigation.
He has said he will fight to demonstrate he is innocent of wrongdoing and to protect his legacy as mayor.