Elected Mayors and Labour in Liverpool

Cllr Richard Kemp,

Church Ward Liberal Democrats,

16, Dovedale Road,

Liverpool L18 1DW;

e-mail : Richard.kemp@liverpool.gov.uk


Cllr Joe Anderson,


Liverpool City Council

By E-Mail       

20th January 2012


Dear Joe,


An Elected Mayor for Liverpool


As always rumours swirl round this city. The latest of these being about the Mayoralty. I am told that disaffected members of your group are leaking to the press that an announcement is to be made next week that not only will Labour support a Mayoral model but that you intend to sneak it past the electorate without a referendum by using the existing Labour Government legislation before the new legislation which makes a referendum compulsory comes into force.

Of course I do not know if these rumours are true. I do, however, know that they would contradict everything that you told Paula and me at our meeting before Christmas.

At that meeting the three of us agreed that it would not be worth going for an elected mayor unless there were substantial new powers, freedoms or cash. We now all know that this will not be the case. Very senior people in Government made clear to all DCLG Ministers last week that mayoralty and powers were not linked. As we discussed if we get new powers we will need to robustly review our governance mechanisms to be able to accept those powers and none of us would disagree with that.

As Paula made clear earlier this week in her letter to all group leaders:

  1. We should campaign  together for a no vote
  2. We should work together to look at the new powers that you and we believe the council should have and to get the government to agree them
  3. We should all work together to review the governance of the council to take advantage both of potential new powers but also the new freedoms granted in the Localism Act.

My particular concern about the rumour is the suggestion that you might move to a Mayoralty without popular support. I am under no illusion that there is NO clamour in the city on this issue and that if a full debate on the issue does take place the people of Liverpool would reject it.

This is a major constitutional issue for the city which will have major and long-term consequences for the City. It is the people who should decide this issue not a handful of politicians initiating the idea in a closed room and then using their majority to force it through council.

If this rumour is wrong I will be absolutely delighted and pledge that the Liberal Democrats will work with you to achieve the three things above.

Kind Regards,


Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

Deputy Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

Cc:       All Councillors

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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