Welcome to Liverpool Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Liverpool ConfidentialNews & Comment.

No referendum: city set to be ruled by fast-track mayor come May

Last week, Liverpool Confidential's Larry Neild exclusively predicted this. Now it's confirmed

Written by . Published on January 26th 2012.


No referendum: city set to be ruled by fast-track mayor come May

A WEEK really is a long time in politics, and in Liverpool, as ever, the intrigue and the mysteries continue. 

Last Thursday, Liverpool Confidential exclusively speculated that Liverpool would be introducing an elected mayor WITHOUT giving electors a chance to decide if they wanted one.

Today, Council Leader Joe Anderson confirmed the city is making moves to go straight to a mayor without a referendum of the city’s population. 

The certainty of Joe Anderson winning
is so strong it would take a brave, brave
and perhaps foolhardy bookie to take bets

The splash in yesterday’s Times outlined the new powers available to Liverpool and a string of other cities if they voted in referendums this May for an elected mayor.  The Government also announced the process would be fast-tracked to enable the elections for the new mayors this November.

Uncle JoeUncle JoeSo why is Liverpool now going to have an election for mayor as soon as May 3 – six months ahead of the rest of the field? 

Councillor Anderson says bringing the move forward will give Liverpool an extra £130m - a rich goody bag from the Coalition Government - and would put Liverpool ahead of Manchester and other cities.

That inducement could well be good enough reason to impose the biggest change in the way Liverpool is ruled since the reign of Queen Victoria. 

Would that gold-plated carrot, dangled by David Cameron, still be available if Liverpool followed the timetable laid down for all of the cities? 

It’s now clear there have been behind-the-scenes discussions and negotiations about what would be on the table for Liverpool as a reward for bringing in an elected mayor. Those talks have been going on since last autumn, without a murmur to opposition city councillors. 

But it seems there is some disquiet among a number of Labour councillors about the way this process is being handled. 



What happens now? Within a few days a special meeting of Liverpool City Council will be called to enable all 90 city councillors to vote on introducing an elected Mayor in May without a referendum. 

That meeting has to take place before a February deadline to allow the legalities to be in place for an election on May 3. 

Town Hall
It will only happen if there is a two-thirds majority in the council chamber on the night. Currently Labour holds 62 of the 90 seats – ensuring a majority, but only if all Labour councillors vote.  Of course some of the 28 councillors on the opposition benches, Lib Dems, Liberals, Greens and Independents, may also back the proposal. 

Early next week, the Labour group will hold a meeting to decide which way it will vote. If, as expected, the group supports a May election for a mayor, Labour councillors will be ‘whipped’ to support the motion. That means they will have to vote Yes or risk the consequences. 

It seems unthinkable that anybody but Joe Anderson will stand as Labour’s candidate, though there will be a list of others wanting the job. Former BBC man and campaigner for an elected mayor Liam Fogarty has already stated his intention to stand in a November electiion

The certainty of Joe Anderson winning is so strong it would take a brave, brave and perhaps foolhardy bookie to take bets. 

Joe Anderson has earned praise for the way he has managed an almost mission impossible, facing cruel government cuts in spending for Liverpool. 

Liverpool suffered the body blow of the worse financial settlement in the country when the government was dishing out money last year to town halls. 

Some may now ask if Liverpool is doing a deal with the devil to claw some of that back, or has Anderson and the Labour group outsmarted Whitehall by winning a dream windfall. 

 

'People elsewhere get ballots. We get backroom deals. That's the Liverpool way'

Campaigner for an elected mayor Liam Fogarty condemned Cllr Joe Anderson's move as a cynical grab for power, but as the political sound-bites flew into the air today, he added that he would be still throw his hat in the ring as a candidate for City Mayor, whenever an election is held.  

Liam FogartuLiam Fogarty condemns the
move but will stand anyway
"The message is clear," he said, "if you live in Birmingham, Leeds or Manchester you'll have your say; in Liverpool, you'll have what Joe says.

“People elsewhere get ballots. We get backroom deals. That's the Liverpool way.

“Joe Anderson's manoeuvre is about fast-tracking himself to a 'coronation' as Mayor.   

“Cllr Anderson's unseemly rush to an election on his terms is another example of old politics, Liverpool-style.  

"Voters will get the chance to reject this type of politics on May 3rd. They should seize that chance.”

Meanwhile, the deputy leader of the Liverpool Lib Dem oppositon, Cllr Richard Kemp, addressed Cllr Anderson via his blog, following an emailed war of words earlier today.

Richard KempRichard Kemp accuses
Labour  of being 'too scared
to trust the people
"This is the biggest change in the governance of Liverpool since the 1890s," he wrote.

 "Liverpool is not owned by the Labour Party or the council as a whole it is ‘owned’ by the people. It is their right to choose our system of governance not ours.  

He added: "I have no doubt that the people of Liverpool would have voted No in a referendum, having seen the dreadful state of affairs in Stoke, which has already removed the mayoral model and Doncaster, which will  a referendum in may to do the same.  

"Unfortunately they will not have the chance because you are too scared to trust the people." 

 

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

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

Alec PrestonJanuary 26th 2012.

This stinks, quite frankly. Yet another tin-pot dictatorship for Liverpool, in the best traditions of Hatton and the power mad Bradley and Storey. Why can't Liverpool be like other cities for a change?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 26th 2012.

So there's nothing the ordinary mortal souls of this city can do about this. This is what they call 21st century democracy, denying us the electorate the chance to decide ourselves how we should be governed. Shame on the lot of them. Even opting not to vote in May for Mayor Joe will not help - he doesn't care how many votes he doesn't get so long as he wins. Isn't this a denial of our human right for self determination. Oh, I know - let's complain to our MPs. Opps, forgot they are all in the same shappy little red tent. I'm anonymous and from today I'm an ex-Labour voter.

Myles FailbetterJanuary 27th 2012.

Liverpool must take its inspiration from another Uncle Joe. Stalin always knew what was best for the lumpen, even if it meant painful sacrifices: central control, firmly exercised. Best not to confuse the people with choices when a farseeing visionary like the beloved Koba knows the best way forward.

AnonymousJanuary 27th 2012.

So the way we will ruled will be decided by a group of Labour councillors, ordered to vote in a particular way (or face the consequences). And our councillors wonder why people are so disenchanted with the lot of them. If the people are allowed the chance to vote and we collectively make a pig's ear of it, then we have ourselves to blame. This smacks of imposed democracy, though it also has shades of a dictatatorship about it. Anyway it all stinks to high heaven.

AnonymousJanuary 27th 2012.

Salford people have voted for an elected mayor in a referendum. The turn out was 18% of the 171,000 electors, with 17,344 saying Yes and 13,653 saying No, a majority of less than 3,700. Essentially it means Salford will be getting an elected mayor with a mandate from just 10% of the people.
The yes campaigners promised a 50% cut in Council Tax (as if). Labour campaigned AGAINST an elected mayor (are you listening Liverpool!), but as soon as the result was declared, the Leader of Salford City Council, John Merry announced he would put his name forward as Labour's candidate in the Mayoral election on May 3.

Katie54January 27th 2012.

Any reservations we might have about the idea of having a mayor don't matter any more, it would seem, so perhaps we should be thinking about what we will be getting. Which as it stands is Joe Anderson. I know people are broadly approving of his actions to date, but we should be wary of giving more power to someone who has already displayed a pretty cavalier disregard for the opinion of both the public and very many of his colleagues on the council in his handling of the LDL contract renewal. So I hope his colleagues will think the unthinkable, and select someone else.
I know I rant on about this, but if he doesn't think he has to account for his actions now, he's not likely to do so if he becomes mayor, is he?
Everyone took for granted that Anderson would do something about LDL, but instead he rammed the "refresh" through with no detail, little debate and a pathetically inadequate justification. Don't we deserve some kind of explanation, after all the overspending, leaked reports, scandals, etc. ? Apparently not.
This looks arrogant and gullible - and hardly inspires confidence in the outcome of his discussions with the government. What are the implications of signing up to this - apart from the money? What else is involved? Why are they offering such inducements, in these cash-strapped times? What's in it for them?

Alan Hird shared this on Facebook on January 27th 2012.
Dingle View.January 28th 2012.

Anderson the Obese riding rough shod over democracy, no change there then. To simply allow Anderson to assume the mantle of Mayor without asking the citizens of Liverpool if we want more costly bureaucracy is wrong. It would be better for him to step down and when elections for Mayor are held to stand as a non political candidate.

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE..
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Anonymous

I agree with the Councillor. His examples really don't go far enough, because of the complexities…

 Read more
Anonymous

Perhaps a "dolmus" system could be used in the city centre, they work quite well for tourists and…

 Read more
Fairminded

Not price related but sad to see that they are doing away with the Citylink bus. This runs around…

 Read more
Anonymous

Thank you Woo

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2017

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code