Labour takes control of Liverpool from Labour!!

Liverpool’s Labour Councillors have effectively been stripped of control of the Council after the Government has appointed a new Strategic Futures Advisory Panel to work alongside the Commissioners to run our City and plan for its future.

The new partnership will see the elected mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, the former Labour Leader of Leeds, Baroness Blake, and Sir Howard Bernstein who worked for years as the Chief Executive to Sir Richard Lees in Manchester effectively set the future direction of the City whilst the Commissioners will effectively run the City.

Effectively this means that national Labour have been appointed to take over the vital discussions on the future of the City whilst Liverpool Labour have effectively been frozen out of any major decisions on running the City by the appointment of a 5th Commissioner for Finance.

So as a Lib Dem who does believe in democracy what do you think I am doing about this? With great regret I am supporting it all the way!

I am doing so because this was inevitable given the depths to which our City have been dragged by Joe Anderson’s Labour Party and the obvious inability of Joanne Anderson’s Labour Party to put things right.

The Council has until 2nd September to respond to the proposals which should be done on an all-Party basis. I have already emailed the Mayor and other Group Leaders to suggest we need to have an urgent meeting of Group Leaders to try and unite behind a common response to the Government’s opinion. What we need to avoid is the sort of cat fight between various factions of the Labour Party and those that left them that occur too regularly within the Council.

For my part I will recommend that the Liberal Democrats accept the situation and work positively with both the Commissioners and Strategic Futures Group to try and map out a way forward in the short and medium term. As democrats we regret that these steps are necessary. As pragmatic politicians who love our City, we recognise that in the short term these steps are inevitable.

Lib Dem support for what is happening demands action in two ways:

Firstly, we have continually said that Liverpool needs to map out a long-term future which is absent from our thinking. We have a so-called City Plan which was dreamed up by 16 Chief Executives without support from the businesses, organisations and most importantly the people of the City.

Liverpool must look to the future and not continually moan about the past. We need to think through what the strengths and weaknesses of our City are. What is happening in the wider society; what technological changes will happen, especially in the field of IT; what effects climate change will make to our City and so many other factors. That is why is it is right that Steve Rotheram should be involved in this. What Liverpool City Council does affects the whole of the City Region far more than the actions of other LCR Councils.

Secondly, we need strategic thinking to cut through the maze of plans and strategies which are preventing things happening not helping them. The Council needs to set out its clear objectives for internal change. It needs to prioritise dealing with areas of waste ad looking at improving sources of revenue. It needs to rethink its provision of education and adults ad children’s social services which are in a dire state.

We need to reform our governance systems to ensure that councillors are effectively trained to lead the authority and that we have the information that will enable us to make key decisions in a way that we have not been able to for the part 10 years.

Ultimately, it must be the people of Liverpool who decide who leads the City and not a remote Tory Government. The Liberal Democrats will shortly start to announce our candidates for next year’s elections. This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to sweep out of office the people who have brought our City to such a low level where it is so clearly, “the worst council in England.”

* Cllr Richard Kemp CBE is the Leader of the Liverpool Liberal Democrats.

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  • Unlike Councillor Kemp CBE, I have no detailed knowledge of the failings of Liverpool City Council. What I do know is that in principle it is an extremely retrograde dictatorial step to impose a non elected body to run what has been a democratically elected local authority. It smacks of the old Eastern Europe.

    Councillor Kemp CBE needs to spell out in more detail what has happened in order to justify and be more convincing on this action by what is probably the worst and most incompetent Conservative Government in my lifetime.

  • Unlike David Raw, I have followed Richard Kemp’s blog (But What Does Richard Kemp Think) for many years. I suggest he will find all the information he seeks set out in great detail in Richard’s regular blog.
    Of course no-one likes government imposed commissioners, but if you read all that Richard has written about the unbelievable arrogance and utter incompetence of the Labour leaders of Liverpool, you might have some sympathy for his view that this step is necessary if Liverpool is ever going to get out the mess it is in. Clearly the best outcome for Liverpool is new leadership following the all out elections next May, preferably led by the Liberal Democrats.

  • David Le Grice 19th Aug '22 - 11:04pm

    The problem is that any sort of intervention or bailout from the government will remove accountability for the council, if things deteriorated enough then people would eventually turn on the council and vote differently. And if voters didn’t change their behaviour then there’d be no problem because they’d be getting what they voted for and wouldn’t deserve any better.

    But now people in Liverpool can be free to vote labour to their hearts content knowing if they do a bad job then regional labour will just take care of things.

  • Cllr Richard Kemp 20th Aug '22 - 8:31am

    We will do our best to remove Labour councillors at the all-up local elections next year. However, as everyone reading this will know, people don’t always vote in local elections for local reasons. Here there is a inbuilt hatred of the Tories and some of that is still rubbing off on us. As Mick Taylor says read my blog to see just had bad Liverpool Council has been over the years. Liverpool Lib Dems would not support this move except in the extremis situation that Liverpool is in.

  • Cllr Richard Kemp……Ultimately, it must be the people of Liverpool who decide who leads the City and not a remote Tory Government…………

    I thought they already have decided. The fact that you don’t like their decision and choose instead to support, in your own words, ‘a remote Tory government’ seems. at least to me, both undemocratic and illogical….

  • David Langshaw 20th Aug '22 - 10:35am

    There’s more to local democracy than just votes at elections. The people elected need to be held accountable for their actions. For the last few years, in Liverpool, it seems that there hasn’t been any accountability. The elected leaders have hidden from their responsibilities, dodged difficult decisions and laid the blame everywhere except on themselves. That’s why external commissioners are needed in this instance. The “let’s weigh the Labour vote” school of democracy simply doesn’t work. I’m interested to see that Cllr Kemp is calling for better management information for councillors, and better training so that they know how to use it.

  • Nonconformistradical 20th Aug '22 - 10:36am

    I perceive most comments so far here might have been made without reference to Richard Kemp’s blog. If so that’s a pity. It would be a good idea to read at least the posts in the Liverpool City Council category to get some idea of the horrible financial mess there before commenting.

    And as another issue you’re commenting on one of the very few places in the world to have had its World Heritage status removed.

  • David Langshaw, The councillors will be held to account next year; it’s called democracy..

    But here’s a thought; let’s go the whole hog..This government has made a far bigger mess than any local authority so why not…….You get the idea !

  • Nonconformistradical 20th Aug '22 - 12:42pm

    This is not a new problem in Liverpool – it’s been going on for some years. Next year’s elections might be too late.

    Meanwhile if you want to do something constructive….

  • Former elected Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson was last year described by Boris Johnson as the sort of Labour politician he likes.
    That probably sums up the problem.
    Johnson and Anderson really are much the same in style, big on words, little in action.
    Both leaving a city or our country devastated in their wake.
    The worrying situation is that both have also stripped their respective parties of any real sense of public service, responsibility or respect of plurality.
    Liverpool Lib Dems have a massive mountain to climb next May, for the city’s sake I hope they achieve it.

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