The Labour-run local authority last night voted to retain its current system of governance for the next mayoral cycle, committing instead to a referendum in 2023.
The decision means that the mayoral election scheduled for May this year will proceed as planned.
Liberal Democrats in the council had tabled a motion that an urgent consultation be held with the people of the city, offering three options: the current mayor and cabinet system, a council leader and cabinet system, and a committee model.
With Labour so dominant in the council – it holds 72 of 90 seats – the motion was always likely to fail, even with the council in such dire straits in governance terms that an independent inspector is currently reviewing its procurement activities. This follows the December arrests of figures including mayor Joe Anderson.
An amendment suggesting a city-wide referendum on the matter in 2023 was passed unanimously.
Cllr Richard Kemp, leader of the Lib Dems in the city, told Place North West: “The fact that Labour have kicked into the long grass consultation with the people of Liverpool over the question of having an elected mayor means that we are saddled with this unpopular, unwanted position until 2024.
“Now was the time to be build on this and a whole range of governance issues which have led to us being the only council in the country with Government inspectors.”
A second debate tabled by Kemp for what was LCC’s first full council meeting since the December arrests concerned the establishment of a taskforce to lead post-pandemic recovery and to develop a strategic investment framework for that recovery. This was passed with an amendment from Cllr Paul Brant that “the council continues its ongoing work”.