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Mike Storey: Lord of the manor

Ex city leader gets peerage. Whatever next? Here he tells Larry Neild

Published on November 25th 2010.

Mike Storey: Lord of the manor

MIKE Storey a Lord. Who would have believed it? Me, for one. But only because I guessed as much months ago when I saw the first signs of a journey to the Upper House in my tea leaves. Mike Storey has had to keep his mouth shut since July when he was first given the thumbs up.I first met the then-bearded rookie councillor way back in 1973 when he joined the opposition against a proposed social housing estate on an area of Sefton Park known as the Meadowlands. It was his first victory.

In the 1990s as leader of the then-opposition Lib Dem group, he headed the campaign that led, in 1998, to an end of Labour rule. The victory in the local elections was far more staggering than even Mike Storey had anticipated. A year earlier Tony Blair haD dispatched the Conservatives from 10 Downing Street and Labour was on a roll, except in the council chamber in Liverpool.

It was Mike Storey as leader who insisted on the city having a shot at what seemed the impossible, becoming European Capital of Culture. Then the bubble burst and the spat with the then Chief Executive ,Sir David Henshaw, was to lead to the Leader standing down - not completely from the council but as the top man in the Town Hall.

There was great irritation a few weeks later when his successor, Warren Bradley, handed Mike Storey a cabinet post. The expectation had been Mike Storey would sit on the naughty step at the back of the council chamber as a back-bencher. He served as Lord Mayor during part of Culture Year.

We sent Mike Storey some questions and here are his answers...

Have you decided on a name yet, ie could it be Lord Storey of Wavertree?
It will be Lord Storey of Liverpool.

Will you have a coat of arms with the title?

When did you find out about the prospect of becoming a lord?
I was telephoned by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in June. There was then loads of paper work which was scrutinised in September and I was told by telephone last week it was to be announced last Friday.

Will you be a working Lord? And how much time do you think you will spend in the House?
Yes, I expect to be there three days a week

Are there any issues, topic you will major in?
My areas of interest in the House of Lords will be education, regeneration, media and Liverpool-centric things.

Education is to be your key interest – what do you want to see there?
An Education White Paper is to be published soon and I will be involved in that.

Will you remain on the city council?
For the time being, yes.

Are you up for re-election next year – if so do you plan to go for another term of office?
Yes. I have already been selected to stand and in these difficult times I want to defend my Wavertree seat.

Do you think being a lord will give you extra clout when taking up Liverpool issues?
Yes, especially with networking opportunities, and I am sure this will be helped by my knowledge of Liverpool.

Have you missed being leader of the City Council?
I think if I was to be truthful, yes. Although since standing down as leader I have had much more time for family and friends and being able to do the things I want to do.

What were your greatest achievements as leader?
I am not somebody who pushed themselves forward and I’ve never used my position as leader of the City Council (I did the job for eight years) to get preferment.

You stood down in that well publicised spat over David Henshaw, did you fear you would remain in the political wilderness?
I have been very humbled that people and opportunities have come to me. And of course I have enjoyed my school (Mike Storey is Head of the Plantation School in Halewood).

There has been a lot of speculation about your re-emergence as Lib Dem leader in Liverpool. Were you ever tempted?
Of course. I was approached by colleagues and was tempted, but it would have been daft. Once you have done a job of work I think you move on.

Do you think you will you remain to the people of Liverpool as plain Mr Mike Storey?
Yes I do.

What about your wife, Carole, she will be called Lady Carole Storey?
As a fanatical Man Utd supporter, she can’t understand why she can’t be called Lady Carole of the Stretford End.

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

Suicidal Council Tax PayerNovember 22nd 2010.

"Lord Storey of Liverpool"?

What a nerve!

He's a Wallasey Lad!

Audit CommissionNovember 22nd 2010.

Lord Tall Storey of Peroni might be a more suitable title?

Lord StreetNovember 22nd 2010.

I'm resigning my peerage.

Sir DiddyNovember 22nd 2010.

ARRRRRGGHHHHHHHHHHH!.....................(thinks).. ARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH! (lays down on floor kicking diddy legs up and down having a tantrum) Nanny rushes in and calms him with a £20note (whimpers)

The mole of Edge HillNovember 22nd 2010.

Lord Storey of Edge Hill and Kensington would have been more apt. At least then we'd have something to remember these decimated areas by. I have to say, his winning personality really shines through here as well. Oh hang on...

Professor ChucklebuttyNovember 22nd 2010.

I always thought he was a count

CitizenCainNovember 23rd 2010.

I'm not a Lib Dem but I have to say Mike Storey presented a good face and a good image for Liverpool. The city made more progress under his stewardship than at any Post-War period. If we are going to have flag-flyers for Liverpool in the House of Lords I'd sooner it be Mike Storey than some of the current and recent crop of local politicians (of all parties). I say good luck to Lord Storey.

Citizen CanedNovember 23rd 2010.

He presented a good face as a shag-haired slapstick comedian perhaps!

What about the huge ECoC cock-ups, the wasted money, the rows, the back-room jiggery-pokery and the demolition of listed buildings in the hollow name of 'regeneration'?

Mathew StreetNovember 23rd 2010.

He was kicked upstairs to be Lord Mayor because he was such an embrarrassment even to the Lib-Dems in the Council.

Outraged Council Tax PayerNovember 23rd 2010.

The man on the ladder at 'Miller Signs' has put in forty years' service in all weathers without absence or complaint but I bet he doesn't get a mention in the New Year Honours, even though the Government has peerages to spare for less deserving cases.

It's obviously a political appointment rather than a recognition of any 'achievement'.

E. LectorNovember 23rd 2010.

How democratic is this. I thought vthe idea was to have an elected House of Lords to stamp out cronyism. Let's face it no party is going to choose people likely to give their partys' topics a rough ride. We might as well not have a House of Lords at all. The whole lot should be sacked (perhaps some could go to the Tower) and we would elect Peers on a proportional representation basis to give a better balance. As long as the appointment of peers is in the gift of the party leaders democracy will be stifled.

Corpie MackNovember 23rd 2010.

It was Storey who appointed Robyn 'Robbing' Archer as Artisitic Director of the Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008, paid her £150,000p.a. for two years and gave her a pay-off when she resigned in 2006, even though she never actually turned up for work!

Not something for him to be proud of!

If only ordinary Council workers who live and spend their money locally could be treated like this!

Lord StreetNovember 23rd 2010.

It was supposed to be the EUROPEAN Capital of Culture so to cause maximum offence he appointed an Australian, an American and sent The Harbarrowboy to Harvard University in the U.S., the world's most expensive technical college, for a short business course at the Council Tax payers' expense!

You couldn't make this stuff up!

Anne GinonthetelephoneNovember 23rd 2010.

Then there's the scandal of Liverpool Direct, of course...

AnonymousNovember 23rd 2010.

No wonder Lord S is p****** off to London town and the House of Lords.

radiorogersideNovember 23rd 2010.

As usual history not the Storeytellers best subject there is already a title currently held by the descendants of the eminent Lord Edward Langley Russell, of Liverpool, then again it would look good on his CV looking forward to a couple Quango appointments. He can now look down on 'diddy' Sir David Henshaw, proclaiming 'I am a Lewd and you are only a night' (sic)

FaceacheNovember 24th 2010.

So is he the REAL Pete Price then?

Tricky WooNovember 24th 2010.

Ah yes, written in comic sans. We'll never forget that legendary rant

POLONovember 25th 2010.

Maybe it's Henshaw's way of saying sorry, he's had a word with someone somewhere.
Lord Puppeteer of the Peroni affair would be a good title?
Well they are all slithering back now aren't they?

London RoadNovember 25th 2010.

Did they ever really go away?

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