Liverpool Aerial October 2019

Liverpool councillors challenge mayoral model

Neil Tague

The future of the city council’s leadership structure is to be discussed at an extraordinary council meeting on Wednesday, as Liberal Democrat councillors called for a full consultation on the city’s governance following the arrest of mayor Joe Anderson in December.

A motion has been put by councillors Richard Kemp, Andrew Makinson, Malcolm Kelly, Mirna Juarez, Kris Brown, Liz Makinson, Carole Storey and Kay Davies, stating: “This council requests officers of the council to draw up and implement a consultation programme with the people of Liverpool on the system of governance that they would prefer from the three systems available in law.”

The proposed models are an elected mayor and cabinet; a council leader and cabinet; and a committee system.

Cllr Kemp, leader of Liverpool’s Lib Dems, told Place North West: “Liberal Democrats have always objected to the fact that no referendum was held before the council decided to impose an elected mayoral system on the people of the city.

“Recent events have shown that the creation of this system has put all the power of the council into one pair of hands and that there is little opportunity to scrutinise the decisions that have been made.
“We have called a special meeting not to impose our own view of the system required, which would be a modernised committee system, but to have a consultation process in which the people of the city decide the system under which the council should operate.”

Mindful that the next mayoral election is due in May this year, the councillors will ask that a report be presented to a special meeting of the council soon enough to halt the election process, should any consultation find in favour of a non-mayoral model.

Although the motion will require backing from LCC’s Labour majority if it is to succeed – and Labour currently has 72 of the council’s 90 seats – Wednesday will represent the first full council meeting since before the council was rocked by December’s high profile arrests including that of Anderson, who was later released on bail until February. He later stood down as mayor and has been expelled from the Labour Party meaning he cannot stand as mayor in the next election.

The first edition of Place North West’s sister publication The Subplot last week examined the prospects for Liverpool’s leadership in the wake of Anderson’s departure.

Place North West also reported last week that a deadline has been set for independent Government advisor Max Caller to report the findings of his study into Liverpool City Council’s procurement practices in property, highways and regeneration.

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We have a pandemic raging through the world an economic crisis in the UK with the fallout from Brexit yet to be fully realised so Liverpool Lib Dems join their Stockport counterparts in engaging in petty local politics.

By Anonymous

This sounds like a sensible debate. Please can we also have a discussion about the reason for a Manchester city mayor. What can he (currently) do that Richard Leese and the Council haven’t done already?

By ChesneyT

I would love to see Steve Rotherham given a clear run with greater powers to represent the whole of the wider city and city region. He has been doing a good job for us lately. If Liverpool city returns to the ‘leader’ model this would remove the two-mayor confusion, allow for more accountability within the central city authority, and simplify the system in the eyes of investors.

By Red Squirrel

Rotherham is doing well … sensible approach but limited powers ….agree far better without the confusion of a Liverpool mayor

By George

There is no justifiable reason why Liverpool should tip the balance in the LCR with their own mayor. I’m deeply cynical of their reasons for the move in the first place…The reasons for which must be blindly obvious to everyone in hindsight.

By Anonymous

I’m sure given the current investigations no one would seriously want Liverpool to have anymore influence on Merseyside than they currently have. It’s a tough time for everyone we don’t need anymore politicking.

By James Yates

Steve Rotheram is doing a fantastic job for the Liverpool City Region , investment is reaching all areas .

By Cathy

Rotheram is a great voice for the city. Another mayor would only get in the way like the last one did

By Anonymous

I think they should get rid of the city Mayor. I would love Liverpool to go with a much more transparent planning process also. It would also be good to have a Tory in the mix also, just to put the area on the map for those in government.

I agree with others about the Liverpool City Region mayor, Steve Rotherham, who appears to be doing a decent job and represents the city well.

By Chris

I would go back to the system we had before. The post of city mayor was imposed on us without a referendum. I would also get rid of the Police commissioner, which is also a drain on the city’s finances.

By Frank Wilson

Well it looks like that didn’t go well then.Sadly too much entrenched politics to want to make the best decision for the city.

By Aigburther