Mayor Anderson challenged to public debates about Liverpool Parks


Protestors at Walton Hall Park One of the Many in Liverpool up in arms about the Mayor’s sell off plans

I am today issuing a  challenge to Joe Anderson to debate the sale of parts of Calderstones Park; Walton Hall Park; and Sefton Park with me in neutral venues with neutral chairs across the City.

If you think he should accept this challenge why not e-mail and ask him to join in. His official e-mail address is

My letter to Mayor Anderson is below:

Liberal Democrat HQ,
509, Smithdown Road,
Liverpool 15

Joe Anderson OBE,
Mayor of Liverpool,
Cunard Buildings,
7th October 2015
Dear Mayor Anderson,
An offer to debate the green issues of Liverpool in front of the people of Liverpool
You will recall that at the last meeting of the Council I accused you of gross cowardice. This was after you spent 22 minutes attacking Me, Erica and the Lib Dems in a part of the Council meeting where no-one can challenge or even ask questions of you. Neither Erica nor I are concerned about the tissue of misleading allegations that you made about us as you sought to deflect attention from your use of council money to solve a personal employment issue outside the council. We are concerned about the wider issues.
We are also concerned that there is now nowhere within the system a place that councillors or members of the public can publicly hold you to account. I met both the Liberal Democrat Mayors at our Conference. Both of them regularly have question times at their Town Hall; both of them can be questioned by councillors in a variety of ways; both of them go out into their communities as Mayor to meet people and be questioned by them. You, of course abolished any real scrutiny by abolishing both the Overview and Mayoral Scrutiny Committees. You will recall that I suggested that they be merged into one powerful body with a work programme that would hold you and the Chief Officers to account.
So being a generous, liberal person I am going to give you the opportunity to meet your electorate to discuss the most contentious issue in the City – the continued proposals to desecrate parts of our Parks and green spaces to build housing and other developments.
I am suggesting that you and I debate the issues with a neutral venue with a neutral chair in:
1. South Liverpool to discuss the proposed sale of parts of Sefton Park Meadowlands – although little appears to have happened since the planning permission was submitted before Christmas last year.

2. Allerton to discuss the sale of land as part of the Harthill Estate section of Calderstones Park as part of a secretive and furtive programme which has not been discussed with local councillors or the community.

3. Walton to discuss the proposed use of the land as a stadium which would destroy the strong community which currently lives in this area and treasures the Park as the heart of its community.
The Mayor of Bedford has already been out on 63 meet the people sessions this year. Is it too much to ask you to attend just 3? Were you to do so you would be left in no doubt that your claims of popular support for your programmes are entirely unwarranted. You would then be able to decide whether you were the servant of the people which should be the democratic position or the dictator of Liverpool which is implied by your retreat into your bunker and refusal to discuss and debate key issues.
I will not be posting or e-mailing this to you. I know from your speech in the Council that both you and your staff are avid readers of my Twitter account and blog!
I look forward to working with you to choose those neutral venues and neutral chairs so we can debate the issues in front of the people of Liverpool without delay.
You know where to find me if you accept this challenge!
Yours sincerely,
Richard Kemp
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

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Health is too important to be left to the Health Service!


Is our Health Serice Sustainable?

In yesterday’s edition of the Independent they published two interesting stories about health which could not have been more contradictory.

In the first they quoted a junior doctor as saying, “We won’t let you starve the NHS to death Mr Hunt”. In the second they said that “the latest research suggests that the drug (aspirin) could also have a major role in treating and preventing cancer”.
Of course there is truth in both these statements. More money must be found for the Health Service whilst we change the culture and practices of health. Of course we should look at cheap alternatives for expensive therapies. One of the reasons given for the fact that full studies of all the potentials of aspirin are not fully explored is that no one will make any money out of it. Money is made by the pharmaceutical companies by the development of expensive new drugs not finding better uses for existing drugs.

Somewhere the way forward for the health service is to make such views complementary and not competitive. What few politicians care to admit, and even fewer health professionals, is that unless we change the model for social and health care health will become an unsustainable burden on taxes. One projection is that if we increase spending on the NHS at the current rate we will spend all taxes raised on health by 2050. So nothing for education; defence or anything else for that matter!
The NHS has a simple ambition which should be shared by all interested in the nation’s health – to keep more people living longer and more healthily.

To change this we need to move spending upstream. We need to move it from acute care to general care, from general care to social care and from social care to illness prevention activity.
I am challenging all political parties, those in the Health Service and Social Care bodies and charities to join a big conversation about how we change the culture of health care in the Country. This needs to be all embracing:

How can individuals do more to stay healthy and prepare intelligently for old age?
What is the role of families in stopping inappropriate behaviour such as poor eating habits and caring for their elderly better?
What is the role of communities in caring for the ill and elderly amongst them?
How do councils provide services which keep and plan communities healthier?
How does the Health Service move from high end gadgets and gizmos to more public health and coordinated activity with other services which will prevent illness?
One of the areas of activity which links all these together is the continued support for a caring family and community. I never supported the Tory calls for a ‘Big Society’ because we already have one. Most of us at some time have been carers within our family. In my case it was looking after my Mum with my Sister as she got increasingly frail and then died. I now am a grandpa helping Erica help our children bring up their children. I don’t expect to be thanked or rewarded for either of these services and hope that in turn my children and grandchildren will look after me. BUT if I did not provide such services then the state would have had even more expense or two generations would have a much reduced life experience.
But sometimes volunteering as a family member, as a neighbour, as part of the community helping people in need within our community is both unsupported and unrecognised. Knowing what to do and how to do it needs some support and sometimes, although not in my case, small amounts of cash to help with the expenses of caring. I heard from a father who has a 21 year old son who has just about every medical condition known to man! He said he was fortunate in that he had been in good paid employment which meant that he could retire early and money had not been a significant factor. Even there the pressure on this man’s life and family was almost beyond belief. Of course he used the state but he did not leave the care of his child to the state. Not everyone is that fortunate.
So much of what the Health Service treats is either preventable or by doing the right things the treatments and therefore costs can be reduced. Two examples will suffice:
Obesity is a killer. Much of obesity is caused by eating too much of the wrong types of foods. The likelihood is that if you eat a lot of greasy fried food you will become obese. This will cause problems for your stomach, heart, liver and kidneys. Youth obesity is even worse. Overweight children will have a range of additional problems including bone problems which will not form property and become brittle and fragile earlier. Almost everyone who is obese can be helped to reduce their weight. The state must help with this but the determination must come from the individual who must exercise more and eat better.
Air pollution is a killer. The estimate is that air pollution from cars causes premature deaths for 23,000 people a year in the UK. Much of that is preventable. In this case it is a three way process. Most of us can choose to buy smaller, more efficient cars but as we have seen in the shameful case of Volkswagen it is more complicated than that. We need Governments at an international level to promote and enforce laws that limit harmful emissions. We also need car manufacturers to be honest and not fiddle figures!
Yesterday I challenged the Independent to lead that ‘big conversation’ but it’s a challenge I also make to everyone who will read this blog. How do we change the culture of health so that our services become sustainable in the light of an increasingly elderly and infirm society?
I believe that councils should be at the heart of this conversation. The new Health and Wellbeing Boards and the Clinical Commissioning Groups are able to bridge the gaps between Health providers, social care providers and the other operations such as housing whose role is crucial in creating a healthy self-sustaining community. I hope that all Councils with their local partners will be the leading protagonist of the conversations because if culture is to be changed it will not be by dictat from the centre but from the ground floor upwards.
Will you join this vital conversation?

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Labour and the strange case of the missing £116,000,000,000

CorbynJez we Can? (probably not!)

One of the most bizarre claims made by Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership election was that £120 billion was being lost to the Treasury by tax evasion and avoidance and downright cheating. That claimed Mr Corbyn was enough to double the amount that we spent on the Health service.
Would that it were true. I know that some of the big groups such as Amazon do not pay their taxes fairly in many of the countries where they earn their money. They use a complex route of service and franchise payments to divert their profits to Countries, often off shore, where they pay much reduced levels of Corporation Tax. That is, of course, an abuse that must be stopped although in my opinion it will take international action to do so not unilateral action by any one country. However on Monday we heard Labour’s new Shadow Chancellor say that the figure wasn’t really £120 billion and reduced it a little. Did he reduce it by a couple of £billion. No he actually reduced it by £100,000,000,0000 or more than 80% to just £20 billion.
He then had to agree with the advice given to him by Labour’s own advisers that at most £4 billion of this could be collected. So we ended up £116 billion down on the original estimate! That does not mean that this money should not be collected and that we should enforce our tax laws in a more stringent way – of course we should – but this is a tiny amount compared to the £700 billion that the Government spends every year. The Shadow Chancellor’s speech as a whole was a wish list rather than a policy statement. Let’s consult on this, let’s talk about that but with no air of realism. As SYRIZA found in Greece you cannot wish debt away. Desperate appeals to Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy will not deliver the cash required to keep our services going.
Look at Trident which at least the Lib Dems debated following a conference submission from Liverpool, It would appear that the Conference voted through a Foreign Policy statement which has committed the Party’s official policy to be the like for like replacement of 4 Trident submarines with a new nuclear deterrent. So Corbyn’s official policy is pro nuclear replacement. His personal policy is very much the CND line. I know that because he and I have the same view on this and we shared a platform at the CND Conference in Liverpool 2 years ago.
So how will they vote when this issue comes up sometime in the next few years? And how will they vote on the vexed question of bombing in Syria. This is a very difficult area for any politician. I personally believe that the way we have bombed Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya caused many of the problems that we now have to deal with in the world or international terrorism. What we need to have is a coherent defence policy with a coherent aid policy. Almost invariably the regime change which we have promoted throughout the Middle East has led to even worse regimes than the ones we didn’t like in the first place. We need to have our military working alongside home grown troops, raising them and supporting them. Our latter years in Afghanistan were an excellent example of just how this could work.
We then learnt that the Labour Party is not a group of happy people. I have seen at least 4 calls for certain people to be thrown out of the Party. Most of these are former Blairite Ministers and supporters. I never liked New Labour but even the most blind should be able to see that they got the Labour Party elected and were more successful in delivering valid social policies than the Tories. But in the North Korean view of politics practiced by so many of the Corbynistas they must be purged. Expect gulags to be established in outer Islington!
I believe that this is what moderates in the Labour Party fear most. The Labour Party will spend much of the next 3 years looking internally and arguing with each other. MPs fear de-selection but they will not be the first. As CLPs get taken over there will be a purge of good councillors who try and deliver pragmatic policies rather than just indulging in flag and shroud waving.
Lastly, what did we learn about Mr Corbyn. Well I have always found him to be a thoroughly decent, sincere, authentic and engaging person. On a personal level I like him and I am sure that this is how he has come over to a lot of people over the past few days. Every day, however, that authenticity will begin to disappear. He has already compromised about key beliefs such as Trident and Europe. He has put into his Cabinet people he does not like. He dresses differently, he will (or perhaps will not) sing the National Anthem. He moves further and further away from his unique selling point which is to be him to become yet another Westminster politician.
So all in all the Labour Party did want they wanted to do. They avoided big contentious debates and united people behind bland and boring resolutions which, mainly talked about talking. No-one actually stalked out of the Party publicly although many have done so privately. They are still contenders for something although no-one that I have spoken to in the Party except for the newest and most naïve members thinks that Corbyn will lead them to victory in 2020.
That leaves the Lib Dems in a good place. We are a united party who like each other and like our Leader. We talk about the big, contentious issues and then refine our policies at both local and national level to deliver them. With Labour suffering internal splits in public and the Tories having huge rows in public and the Green Party suffering badly in local elections up and down the Country our mood should be one of cautious optimism and a determination to get out on the streets to forward our cause. Now where is that bundle of Focus newsletters for Mossley Hill?!

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Liverpool Council meetings – A new members impression


September saw a grisly mangling of democracy in Liverpool Town Hall

At our mid-September Council meeting I invited some of our new members to come and see for themselves the grisly mangling of democracy that takes place there on a regular basis.

Joe Harmer was so incensed about what he saw that he has done a blog about it. These are his unedited impressions but I know they rung true to so many people in Liverpool. If you ever want a reason to vote Lib Dem in future just come along to the cesspit of democracy which is a council meeting in Liverpool and you will be instantly converted!

See what you think. Joe can be contacted at

Why one-party councils and FPTP are STILL destroying local politics: A student’s first impression of Full Council

On the 16th September 2015 I was invited by my newly discovered friends at the Liverpool Liberal Democrats to a full council meeting at Liverpool Town Hall, and as an inspiring politics nerd I felt honour bound to have a look at the world I was getting myself into. A chance to see politics and democracy in action was just too much to miss, as was seeing our mayor conjuring his best excuse as to why nearly £90,000 of taxpayer’s money had gone to a lawsuit of his own making.

Despite warnings of the grim spectacle of what was to come (you’d think I’d have learnt my lesson about such things in May but us Lib Dems are nothing if not optimistic) I headed into the Town Hall with my curiosity getting the better of me and looking forward to what I was about to witness. What followed was a nothing short of soul-crushing, as I sat in dismay while Joe Anderson blustered his way through his own “I am not a crook” moment, accusing our depleted council representation of “dirty politics” whilst not actually offering a wholesome explanation for what he did and proudly crowing that his “conscious was clear”.

To make the whole debacle even more bemusing, instead of getting the chance to see Joe questioned for his dodgy deeds, I was treated to the sight of a council that is 90% Labour applaud our Mayor as if he was a hero, nobly spending the city’s currently abundant money supply for something that actually benefits someone other than Joe Anderson.

What I hope Anderson realises is that it is people like him that is killing my generation’s already sparse supply of trust in politicians and politics in general. While he may get applauded by his Labour cronies like the champion he wishes he was, or maybe even believes he is, every defiant phrase he so bullishly affirms is another reason for my friends to refuse to vote, believing that us politicos are as bad as each other and just in it for personal gain. Even if he has a very good justification, which doesn’t some seem remotely feasible, for his use of that £90,000, the completely brazen nature of his defence a couple of weeks ago is just not something that instils faith, let alone trust, and I while I appreciate that attack is often the best form of defence in such matters, in this case attacking two councillors in a chamber of ninety was just tragic in a way that Shakespeare wouldn’t have dreamt up.

But by far the biggest issue I had with this whole mess was that it showed once again why FPTP is fundamentally broken, as our system of government doesn’t allow people like Joe Anderson to be held fully accountable for their wrong doing. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not deluded enough to ignore the fact that even in a system of PR, Labour would have an overwhelming majority on our city’s council. But the red rose does not garner 90% of the vote, and so to have a council represented like this is maddening as eight councillors are entrusted to try and restore some sanity and sense of morality in the running of Liverpool. A majority of 72 effectively means that this city that we all love so much is run at the whim of whatever Anderson thinks up next.

One does wonder how much longer we must have this fight, and sadly looking through history does not offer much hope. But it is a battle that we Liberal Democrats must always undertake, and one that I hope to win at least on a local level before I get too weary of this game we call politics. Because Liverpool deserves better than people like Joe Anderson, and at the very least deserves a council that will be able to effectively hold his feet to the fire, instead of cheering him for his blatant disregard of the people that voted him in.

A massive thank you to Cllr Richard Kemp for this opportunity to get my voice heard on this matter.

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Which conference were they at?

Regular readers of my blog (both of you!) will know that I usually write a blog like this at the end of a Party Conference. Because I never feel that I have been to the same conference as the journalists. I have always felt that they have come to conference with the story already written. They then spend conferences looking for isolated examples of people or circumstances which support their case.

This has been absolutely true at this conference. We have heard how this is a small conference where gallows humour abounds and where we are all asking whether we will even be here next year. Well funnily enough I have been hearing such stories for the past 48 years but we are still here and I am still fighting.  We have been told that our policies don’t hold water and that we are moving to the political fringes. But we have discussed sensibly a wide range of issues where Lib Dems brought not only their political knowledge but their everyday knowledge of the world. As an example I was at a meeting with a number of the Royal Medical Colleges yesterday. They all had a confence badge but it was only as we left that I noticed that badges for two of them were voting badges. These top medical professionals therefore are members and bringing that tremendous expertise to our counsels.

So what has this conference really been like. Well I am sitting in on a debate about the BBC. The chair has pointed out that three speakers in a row were new members making their first conference speech. And cracking speeches they were too. In fact this place has abounded with people of all ages. Many of them young challenging the ways and thoughts of old gits like me. They want to do things differently, they want to bring us even more into the social media era and talk to people in different ways. they want to stand for the council and stand for Parliament. Some of them of course will not stay the course and will disappear like froth on a beer. But I just feel that many of them will stay and will be the Leaders of the future. Indeed one person who joined the Party in May is already a councillor! They have brought a great enthusiasm to our Party which consequently made our conference exciting and enjoyable.

We have had some cracking debates. I refer first to the one from Liverpool shout Trident. This  was heavily amended but the fact that we could discuss it and discuss it sensibly means that we will become the first Party to have a policy in 18 months time which will enable us to shape our fighting forces to meet the demands of a Syrian/ISIS type situation. In other words we will be the first to define our defence activity by what we need and not by what we have always done.

We have discussed the BBC, social care, green taxation, benefits, fracking, housing, the environment. Of course our depleted band will not be able to force these ideas through Parliament. Of course neither can the 200+ Labour MPs. What we can do is change the debate and then join with others of a like mind to campaign for those changes. This was exemplified by me in the health discussions that I have been engaged in for most of my time here. Our views strike a tremendous resonance with a range of people from all health backgrounds and sectors. We can and will work them to change the way that our National Illness Service works. We will work them to create both a conversation and a debate how we deal with the appalling health pressures we face as our country gets steadily older.

Three other things really strike me about the conference.

The first is a sense of unity. There may only be 60,000 of us compared to the 300,0000 members of the Labour Party but we are of a mind with each other. We like each other. We share the same idea and the sae. Polices. There is no back stabbing and we can and will work together to take the Party forward.

The second is a sense that we have got out Party back. This was the conference with the biggest number of delegates ever. Sometimes it feels a bit empty.  That’s great it is emptier because  the leeches and lizards of the professional lobbying industry have left for other places. Of course we had lots of people here from outside bodies lobbying for their view point. But these were people who actually worked for the organisations for which they lobbied. They were there because they believed and not because someone had hired them to put a view forward.

Lastly it was abundantly clear how much the Party already loves our new Leader Tim Farron. Of course they already knew him. He was well known to us because for 4 years he had been our President. He’s been in politics for most of his life but he does not come over as a professional politician. He comes over as what he is. A good man, a good liberal who his passionate about his beliefs, passionate about the disadvantaged and passionate about our Country. He will lead us well.

I am not stupid about the challenges  that we face to claw our way back to a position of power and influence in both Parliamnt and councils. But I do believe that we have laid a solid basis for a recovery. Let’s face it from where we are onwards and upwards is just about the only way to go!

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What do you mean you can’t ask the Mayor questions?!

The most frequent request that I have had in the last few days is to explain why I was unable to respond to  the tissue of half truths, misleading information and dissembling which was the basis of Anderson’s speech to council last Wednesday. You may recall that in a recent blog I said I would tell you about how badly the council was led and managed and how pointless much of the work if councillors was so I will put both things together.

Back to Wednesdays’ Council meeting. We had some new members there and I told them beforehand that Anderson  would spend 20 minutes attacking the Liberal Democrats whilst simultaneously saying how irrelevant we are. I was wrong – he spent 22 minutes doing it. What he said was inaccurate and in most cases a total distortion of the facts. Most of it was his justification of his decision to take £90,000 of the council’s money to settle a personal Indutrial Tribunal case. The IT case could not have dealt with the issue in hand because, as the Government has told Liverpool it requires legislation. Anderson hides behind officers decisions but the ultimate decisions are his. He decided to become the Labour candidate for Mayor, he decided that he wanted to get paid for doing no work and he decided to let the council pay when any decent person would have paid themselves.

The important thing from this rambling discourse is that the standing orders of the Council do NOT  allow any other council to ask questions, make comments or in any way challenge what the Mayor has said. But that is not all. Labour abolished two committees where the Mayor in particular and the Cabinet generally could be held to account. No admittedly these committees had not in the past been well led. In fact I stopped going to one. But the answer was not abolition but their replacement by one committee with proper opposition leadership and a proper work programme.

But it still gets worse. Last year we received a report from Baroness Estelle Morris in which she said that she would think her job done if she left within our education service the concept of bench marking and comparison with other councils. We warmly welcomed her report. The next item was a motion from me about establishing such a bench-marking across the the council and comparing ourselves with other similar authorities, namely the core cities. Labour voted against the move with both councillors and officers coming up with excuses such as the statistics are not available and that  it would cost too much to collate them.  Neither  of these statements is true. Most of these comparators are readily available and it would take a member of staff an afternoon to collate them.

The fact is that both politicians and officers in Liverpool are scared of a performance management culture and afraid of comparison with other cities who in truth are doing much better than us.

So the summary that I can give to the people of Liverpool is that there is no mechanism anywhere within the council where I can challenge the Mayor on your behalf. That means in the true style of a coward he can talk whatever bluster and bollocks he wants secure in the fact that no-one can challenge him. As many people know you cannot challenge him outside the council either. Ask him a question on his Twitter account and he blocks you.

The rest of the council is no better. Agendas for the ‘scrutiny’ committees are written to ensure that Labour councillors ate given something to do. A rich diet of PowerPoint presentations with pretty pictures makes them feel important but the real meat of their work to challenge the Cabinet and senior officers is left left totally undone.

So we have a council where the political and managerial executive cannot be challenged and where openness and transparency are transparently missing!

This will always be the case whilst Anderson is Mayor. There is an obvious conclusion to this issue which I invite you to remember at the Mayoral elections next May!

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Coincidentally I have been talking to both the Lib Dem elected Mayors at Conference.

Both of them can be questioned on any issue at Council, without warning, by any councillor. Both of them have regular ‘Meet the Mayor’ sessions both in their Town Hall and also in the community. Would  you believe it some Mayors don’t hide away but regularly appear in shopping and community centres to meet their residents and hear from them their concerns at first hand. In both councils there is a full scrutiny programme with councillors being asked to help in policy making and not just choosing to listen to bland presentations.

At the end of the day this is not Anderson’s city – it is not the council’s city – it is the people’s city. We need to have a Mayor and council that understands that.

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Mayor’s IT Bills – update!!!


As almost everyone who reads this blog will be aware the Mayor spent a lot of time at the last council meeting defending his use of public money to settle his own IT bills. He did so in a  part of the council meeting where councillors are not allowed to challenge, comment on or even ask questions about what the Mayor has said! My next blog will explain this in more detail but it means that Anderson can bluster and waffle and be hugely disingenuous because he cannot be challenged.

Some of our members came to the meeting and I told them that one of the first items would be a 20 minute attack on Erica and I specifically and the Liberal Democrats generally. I was wrong – it was 22 minutes! How did I know this? Because it happens at most council meetings. Mayor Anderson always seems to spend a large part of the meeting saying how irrelevant we are which somehow defeats his own argument!

Anyway I have been exchanging e-mails on the subject with a senior council employee who, apparently I cannot name! His responses always raise more questions than provide answers. His latest was no exception.

So I attach below an e-mail which I have just sent. Always happy to receive responses. I am particularly happy to let Mayor Anderson reply to this blog. Joe I know you are one of my most dedicated readers. Anything you say will be repeated as you send it unless there are parts which are libellous or abusive in which case I will just delete those parts.

Here are my latest comments and questions to the council

Thank you for your reply. I am afraid its rather like a cheese souffle I had recently. It looked good on the outside but with little real substantce.
1.       Thank you for confirming that the Council did not try and clear this matter up with DCLG before spending £89,000+. Had you done so you would have received confirmation that this is a matter which is affected by legislation. It did not need an Industrial Tribunal to ascertain this. I understand from the Liverpool Echo that the council has now been told this and furthermore that the Government will not be contrsibuting to the payment of the bills. I also understand that it is also a fact that an IT decision could not affect legislation except for legislation relating strictly to employment law. This is not true in this case.
2.       Thank you for confirming that the Council’s staff did not try to make contact with their opposite numbers in other mayoral authorities. Had they done so they would have found that there have been at least two other cases which were analogous, although not identical to this. In both those cases the Mayors in question and their advisers decided not to take the matter to the IT using council funds because it was clear that the IT could not affect the legislation concerned. In fact in both cases I understand that the individuals decided as they had a large salary which had its own substantial pension they should settle for that!
Thus two opportunities to deal with this matter by finding out more expert opinion have been missed by the council’s staff.
3.       The statement has continually been made that this would affect the running of the council and that therefore spending on it would not be ultra vires. There has been no explanation of why this is the case. The implication is that this will affect the people who might in future stand for the Council. Thus it cannot affect someone who is already elected. In future it will also have no effect. Who stands for the council, why and under what circumstances is not a matter for the council providing that candidates are legally entitled to stand. Perhaps you could give this matter your attention and give me some detailed thoughts as to how the running of the council could be affected by this?
4.       You are right that we have not exchanged views on this before so that is no discrepancy between what you have told me before and anything else. The discrepancy is between the officer’s version of events and those of the the Mayor.
I would be grateful if you would clarify in detail:
1.    When officers were first made aware of the situation regarding Mayor Anderson
2.    When officers decided to make preliminary enquiries on Mayor Anderson’s behalf?
3.    When officers first instructed the solicitors in this matter
4.    When officers agreed that the solicitor should employ a barrister
5.    Assuming that standard legal practice was observed of ensuring that large bills would be paid. When did the council agree to pay costs in the case of a failure of the matter?
6.    At this time was the Council, as is standard legal practice, given an estimate of the costs?
7.    When were the council aware of the final bill?
8.    Have all bills in this matter been paid or were they deferred in the vain hope that the government would contribute to them?
Lastly you point out that this matter has been discussed with and supported by the External Auditor, Grant Thornton. This is not confirmed by them in an e-mail to me today in which I pressed the issue following an earlier e-mail. The head of the Audit told me today, “As you know we have to act independently of the council and given our statutory responsibilities we have to be mindful of NOT (my capitals) expressing judgements on matters that we may need to consider formally in due course”.  Perhaps you would explain the differences between what you think the external auditors said and what they think they said!
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats


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