Labour make mockery of Greater Liverpool

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Yesterday which should have seen the start of a brave new venture to attract industry and commerce to our Greater Liverpool Conurbation instead saw us descend into an ‘April Fool’s Joke’ of mega proportions. 6 apparently grown up men seem to have played tricks on each other with a vote being taken whilst two of them were out of the room and a prefixed caucus from 4 of them to make a decision about the choice of chair. This, of course, follows an earlier private breaking of Labour ranks about the name of the new body.

I have just issued the press release below which I hope is self-explanatory. I have only ever believed in the combined authority as a stepping stone to a properly elected body. I do NOT want to recreate the 99 member County Council. London manages with just 25 members on the Greater London Assembly. I believe that we should have the same number to deal with these strategic functions and take over the Police, Waste and Recycling, Transport and Fire functions. This would take out a range of joint boards and of course the none job of Police Commissioner.

That body could, like London have both constituency representatives and a top up vote to provide a proportionality to end what is currently a one party state with all members of the combined authority being Labour.

In the meantime Liverpool cannot pull out of an authority which has been established by law. Nor should it. We must make a bad job work and we must do it swiftly before even more damaging headlines are created which will hinder our efforts to create much needed jobs in our community. The only winners to come out this total lash up are the 10 Manchester authorities led by Sir Richard Leese. Manchester 3 points – Liverpool 0!

This is my press release – what do you think?

Call for new elected body for Greater Liverpool

Liverpool’s Lib Dem leader Councillor Richard Kemp has described Labour’s internal rows over the leadership and naming of the Liverpool City Region as, “totally unacceptable and the idea that Liverpool might pull out of an organisation that it helped create on day two of its existence would make us the laughing stock of the Country.”

“Here we have an organisation that has proved to be massively effective in Greater Manchester but which has fallen at the first fence in Greater Liverpool. Whilst I firmly believe that the Leader or Mayor of Liverpool should be the chair of this body it is not the most important factor in its success. It is vital that this body be made to work because it will create long term investment from both the public and private sectors. Its key jobs are upgrading our infrastructure and attracting inward investment. Only by working together as one team can we hope to attract investment that will otherwise go to the South East of England.”

“I am writing today to David Cameron and Nick Clegg to remind them that they have told me at different times that they would make legislative time available for a Merseyside led solution to governance issues. I now believe that we need to put in place a small elected Greater Liverpool Authority which would take over these strategic infrastructure and investment activities and the work of the four Merseyside activities for police, fire, waste and recycling and transport”.

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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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3 Responses to Labour make mockery of Greater Liverpool

  1. Stuart Kelly says:

    Its worth noting Richard that The Greater Manchester Combined Authority isn’t ‘led’ by Manchester City Councils leader Sir Richard Leese. but is in fact chaired by Wigan Councils leader Cllr Peter Smith.
    I would note however Cllr Leese has not spat his dummy half way across Manchester as Mayor Joe has in Liverpool.
    An elected body is the only solution to this clash of egos

    • richardkemp says:

      Manchester made that arrangement by agreement which also recognised the additional reach that Peter Smith has as a Peer. Manchester City is still the power house for the conurbation and is recognised as such.

  2. Catherine says:

    Yes, taking the vote while the 2 dissenters were out of the room seems mad, especially since they would have won it regardless. It’s clearly personal, not political – all 4 are Labour. And they will be at least as aware as anyone else of what’s at stake.
    Let’s hope that one of the 4 will explain about the rush as fully as Jo Anderson did in his email to Liverpool Labour councillors.
    But while it’s true that the City Region should ideally be chaired by the leader or mayor of Liverpool, the other 4 authority leaders clearly did not feel they could work with Jo Anderson – and they should know, they have 4 years’ experience of his leadership.
    Calling him a “big personality” is a euphemism for bombastic, self-aggrandising and overly aggressive (the Mayor’s this and the Mayor’s that… the awful proceedings of the Mayoral scrutiny committee, etc. etc.). He clearly believes he is entitled to decide everything, and will not listen, will not explain himself properly, will not submit to proper scrutiny. Instead of allowing proper scrutiny committees with elected members, meeting in public and publishing minutes, he appoints commissions who do whatever they do and report to him. He accounts for his actions in press releases. He certainly does not do consensus or transparency. The City Region will not work, will not get taken seriously and will not get the extra funding etc. we need with this approach. So it’s as well that this has happened – and it’s our fault for electing him (well, for allowing him to force an elected mayor on us).
    We already have an indication of how things would have been: under his tenure as leader of the group of authorities, they would not even release the agendas of meetings, much less minutes (there was an FOIA request not so long ago). This speaks volumes.

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