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Gone: Mike Storey, Paul Clein and Bernie Turner

Larry Neild at the Liverpool Council count witnesses Lib Dem meltdown

Published on May 6th 2011.

Gone: Mike Storey, Paul Clein and Bernie Turner

THE Lib Dems in Liverpool face extinction following their catastrophic defeats in last night's town hall elections. That was the grim prediction from jubilant Labour leader Joe Anderson who witnessed his party gather a handsome collection of big-name scalps.

Shown the door were Mike Storey, Paul Clein, Bernie Turner and another eight Lib Dem councillors. They went into the dog fight defending 13 seats and it did indeed turn out to be unlucky. Just two candidates scraped home, Richard Kemp in Church Ward and Woolton councillor Barbara Mace.

Paul Clein is highly regarded for his
integrity and fairness, and his absence
in the council chamber will be poorer

Mike Storey entered the political fray in 1973 as a 21 year old, making him one of the youngest ever city councillors. Almost four decades later he has been dispatched by a NHS worker who was only 17 when he was chosen to take on the Lib Dem giant.

_50068244_storey.jpgLabour's Jake Morrison, now 18, is so crammed with enthusiasm and confidence it is frightening. He squared up to the Baron of Childwall, undeterred by his lack of political experience. He didn’t just sneak in, he romped home with a massive majority.

One of the barometers was Mossley Hill, such a Lib Dem stronghold that even the pavements could be painted orange. There, Ron Gould, one of the hardest working community councillors, was trounced by Labour.

Next door, in Grassendale, Peter Millea was overwhelmed. In Allerton, John Clucas, husband of acting Lib Dem leader Flo Clucas, was given his figurative P45. In Knotty Ash, rising Lib Dem star Paul Twigger was dispatched to the jam butty mines.

Green leader John Coyne held on in St Michaels, as did Lord Mayor Hazel Williams in Tuebrook.

Before the count started I chatted to a number of Labour councillors who allowed themselves the luxury of admitting the loss of Paul Clein would be a loss to local politics. The one-time education executive member is highly regarded for his integrity and fairness, and his absence in the council chamber will be poorer, they said.

At the height of their success the Lib Dems held 70 of the then 99 council chamber seats. Labour, at its worst, sunk to 20 seats.

Today Labour has 62 seats, the Lib Dems have 22 or 23 depending on whether or not you include Warren Bradley as a card carrying member, the Liberals have three and the Greens two.

If this year’s successes are repeated next May, Labour could rocket to 70-odd and the Lib Dems could sink to a 10 or 11. And it’s that collapse that has prompted Joe Anderson to predict a meltdown. The big worry is this – will Labour become too powerful for their own good in Liverpool.

Today their majority is so vast it is frightening and in a year the gap may become even wider. Anderson, though, had reassuring words – his political radar has already zoomed into the possibility of dominance and he says he is determined to ensure his members never lose touch.

nick new.jpgIn 1998, Mike Storey arrived at Wavertree Tennis Centre expecting to collect a respectful collection of Labour scalps. He left the centre as the newly crowned Leader of the council having won more than even he had imagined.

Last night, outside that same tennis centre, a car pulled up driven by Warren Bradley, no doubt now feeling his take on the political barometer, with the mercury level controlled by Nick Clegg, was vindicated.

The troubled former council leader decided against entering the official count, convinced (no doubt rightly) the zoom lenses would focus on him.

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

ObserverMay 6th 2011.

While I have little sympathy for the Lib Dems, it does not sit easy knowing that Labour will not be held to account by anybody. Shame Paul Clein has gone. As one of the few intelligent Lib Dems, Uncle Joe and the gang now have free rein to steam roller whatever they wish, should they wish. Ho hum.

Ex-Old Hall StreeterMay 6th 2011.

Larry Neild, in his element, in the thick of it, as usual. Good stuff.

Julie PolandMay 6th 2011.

Absolutely wonderful news, Lib Dems sent packing and I hope they never dirty our City again. End of the Storey.

AnonymousMay 6th 2011.

Storey and co never started out with bent intentions I don't believe, but power does corrupt and who will be there to question Anderson etc when they start to take the freebies for granted?

Angie Sammons shared this on Facebook on May 6th 2011.
AnonymousMay 6th 2011.

So Bradley was right then? Now there's a first.

community championMay 6th 2011.

Well done to Gary Millar for joining Labour, Lib loss Lab gain, now Gary can do even more good work in our communities and schools.

1 Response: Reply To This...
WarrenMay 6th 2011.

If you don't mind a turn-coat....

AnonymousMay 6th 2011.

Good riddance to bad rubbish

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