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”.