There is little I need add to this article from the Liverpool Echo:
This independent think tank led by the most experienced Labour politician in Liverpool shows that it was untrue that:
Liverpool needed a mayor
Liverpool would get more money by having a mayor
Liverpool would get money quicker by having a mayor
A MERSEYSIDE think tank has claimed the people of Liverpool were “misled” over the £130m “City Deal” that prompted the decision to have an elected mayor – sparking a war of words among senior Labour figures.
Liverpool-based ExUrbe claimed the “£130m City Deal” was not conditional on going straight to Mayoral elections without holding a referendum.
But Mayor Joe Anderson rubbished their 57-page report – hinting he believed there was a political agenda behind it.
It will heighten tensions between the Mayor and ex-Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle, who is a trustee of ExUrbe.
In recent weeks, Mayor Anderson and Mr Kilfoyle were involved in a public spat when the city leader urged Labour members to vote for former Wavertree MP Jane Kennedy – rather than Mr Kilfoyle – for the party’s nomination for Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner.
There has been a clash of personality between the two for some time, with Labour sources claiming Mr Kilfoyle’s reputation as a maverick independent is of little appeal to Mayor Anderson.
The report claimed the deal had been a “triumph of scheming and spin over democracy”, and reiterated Cities Minister Greg Clark’s statement that the government would “contribute £75m (to Liverpool) … subject to a strong, robust business case.”
It adds Mayor Anderson said when the deal was announced in February that “if we wanted these powers and this money, we had two options” – either to form a combined authority of all six Merseyside councils, or “to go for a Liverpool City Mayor”.
The report contrasts this claim and Mr Clark’s ministerial statement in November last year that “no City Deal is conditional on having any particular governance arrangement”.
The report adds: “The people of Liverpool were misled. They were ‘sold’ the City Deal on a largely false prospectus and ‘bamboozled’ into tolerating – if not exactly embracing – major decisions made by a small coterie of individuals without any apparent consultation.
“It is disconcerting that power has been concentrated into the hands of one office holder in these unedifying circumstances – particularly when that office holder played a lead role in achieving that self-same concentration of power.”
But Mayor Anderson hit back and said: “All I can say is ExUrbe will very soon be extinct if they continue to produce unfounded, unqualified and unfair rubbish like this. There’s nothing like a politician scorned.”
Former council leader Mike Storey, now a Lord, is a patron of ExUrbe, as is University of Liverpool Politics professor Jon Tonge, who has argued against directly elected mayors.
Mr Kilfoyle told the ECHO: “How can he answer to what is said in black and white? If he has a rebuttal, then I think he ought to make it. The fact of the matter is, he can’t.
“If that’s the case, we’ve just got a guy who just slags off well-researched and well argued reports.
“He can’t just go around trying to bluff everyone all the time.”