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Anderson sweeps to power as first elected mayor of Liverpool

Larry Neild reports on historic night as Labour seizes Sefton and Wirral too

Written by . Published on May 4th 2012.

Anderson sweeps to power as first elected mayor of Liverpool

JOE Anderson today became first directly elected mayor of Liverpool as Manchester voted to stick with rule by leader and cabinet. 

It marked a historic night for Labour on Merseyside as they took control of Wirral and dramatically seized Sefton, ending more than a quarter of a century of coalition rule there.

The counting of votes at Liverpool's Wavertree Tennis Centre was marred by ugly scenes as mayoral candidate Peter Tierney and his National Front supporters vented their anger with angry shouts and outbursts. 

Outbursts: Peter Teirney and his NF buddiesOutbursts: Peter Tierney and his NF buddies

Undercover police officers mingled with the hundreds of politicians, agents and council staff amid fears of trouble. 

At one time about 10 NF supporters were lined up outside the centre and frisked by police, seemingly after claims that knives were being carried. No weapons were found. 

Inside the hall a strong police cordon surrounded Tierney and co, who went under the name of Peter Quiggins on the ballot paper, while Labour councillors flanked their leader to ensure he was well protected from troublemakers. 

Back at the Mayoral count, Tierney floundered at the bottom of the poll, with just 566 votes, compared with Joe Anderson's tally which exceeded 58,000, just under 58 per cent of the vote. 

Runner-up was long time campaigner for an elected mayor Liam Fogarty with 8,292, over six per cent of the vote. 

It meant Fogarty and two others, Richard Kemp (Lib Dem) and John Coyne (Green) all win back their £500 deposits. 

Loam Fogarty, offered place on LDL boardLiam Fogarty, offered place on LDL board

As another consolation, perhaps, Anderson later revealed he had invited his runner-up to serve on the board of the controversial call-centre Liverpool Direct. 

Around 32 per cent of the city's 320,000 voters took part in the mayoral election. 

Even critics of an elected mayor model would find it hard not to recognise the substantial endorsement from across the city offered to Joe Anderson. 

What will never now be known is whether Liverpool would have followed other big cities - like Manchester - and voted against having an elected mayor if it had been given the chance. Joe Anderson won support from his loyal Labour group to scrap a referendum and opt instead to go straight to a vote. 

But it puts an even bigger burden on Mayor Joe to fly the flag for the mayoral system in the big cities, with critics and supporters watching his every move for signs of success or failure.

Most of the city's Labour councillors were present to cheer the hero of the hour, drowning out the chants from the National Front. 

Anderson said he had topped the poll in Liberal stronghold Tuebrook as well as in Richard Kemp's Church ward – and pointed to this as an indication many were rejecting the Lib Dems. 

To add to the grief of the Lib Dems there are early signs the party will have another grim day when the count for the council elections takes place this afternoon (Friday). 

It could take the Lib Dem count in the council chamber to a dismal ten or eleven. 

Mayor Joe, meanwhile, appeared raring to go with his manifesto. Along with his proposal to Fogarty, he also revealed that he had spoken with former Lib Dem Education Chairman Paul Clein about a role for him in the new city collective and there may also be some role for Phil Redmond. 

The big question is where will the new mayor be based. There are suggestions he would like to make Liverpool Town Hall his civic HQ, rather than the Municipal Buildings where the Chief Executive's office is located.  

The hit parade

Joe Anderson (Labour) 58,448

Liam Fogarty (Ind) 8,292

Richard Kemp (Lib Dem) 6,238

John Coyne (Green) 5,175

Tony Mulhearn (TUSC) 4,792

Steve Radford (Liberal) 4,442

Tony Caldeira (Con) 4,425

Andrew Hetherington (UKIP) 2,352

Paul Rimmer (English Democrats) 1,400

Jeff Berman (Liverpool Independent Party) 1,362

Mike Whitby (BNP) 1,015

Peter Quiggins (National Front) 566

ELECTION UPDATE: New make-up of Liverpool City Council: Labour 72, LibDem 10, Lib 3, Green 2, Ind 1. Vacancies 2 (one for Joe Anderson's council seat, one for Lib Dem Cllr Vera Best who has died). Labour held onto 17 seats being contested and gained 10 Lib Dem seats.

Of the 11 Lib Dem seats being contested only Erica Kemp won. Casualities included Lib Dem leader Paule Keaveny in Cressington who lost by just 127 votes and former Lord Mayor, veteran councillor Eddie Clein.

Greens held on to St Michaels and Liberals held Tuebrook. Lib Dem presence in town hall lowest since 1960s. Turnout across the city 32%. Lowest turnout was in Central Ward 12.44%.

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ConcernedMay 4th 2012.

So the Lib Dems couldn't even get past an independent with no track record in politics. Says it all really.

It's over for them, which is frightening as there is no opposition at all now, and we know what happens when there's a political monculture. Or at least we should...

S CohenMay 4th 2012.

"At one time about 10 NF supporters were lined up outside the centre and frisked police, seemingly after claims that knives were being carried. No weapons were found." ??!

Yeah, you can't trust those police and their hidden blades.

Michael BreslinMay 7th 2012.

Oh.well, Joe Anderson is now mayor! But I suppose he was the best of a bad bunch, from the right-wing facsists Whitby and Quiggins to that ageing marxist and business hater Mulhearn.

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