Earlier today I wrote to all the other 3 Party Leaders in Liverpool asking them, in effect, to establish a Constitutional Convention for the Liverpool City Region. I am pleased that Cllr Joyn Coyne, (Green Leader) and Cllr Steve Radford (Liberal Leader) have both written to to support the idea. I believe that when dealing with important issues like this it is important that politicans give up their tribal loyalties and work together. The ‘Better Together’ campaign in Scotland shows that it can be done. We need people from all Parties and of none to bring forward their ideas to create for the Liverpool City Region a structure that will enable decisions to be taken within the region which reflect what is really needed and solutions created which will really hit home because they are based on local knowledge. I am writing again to Mayor Anderson to request his involvement with his Labour colleagues in this work
Below I append my earlier rpess release and my original letter to the other 3 Party Leaders.
“Act Now to maximise devolution opportunities for Liverpool City Region”.
Liverpool’s Lib Dem Leader, Cllr Richard Kemp, has urged the three other Group Leaders on Liverpool City Council to establish a joint campaign with other political leaders in the city region to campaign for the maximum devolution of powers to the region.
Cllr Kemp said, “With all three national leaders promising devolution within England we should seize the moment and be absolutely clear about what we believe should be the preferred outcomes for Liverpool. Scotland has shown us that politicians can set aside their tribal differences when there are major constitutional issues at stake and that is what I am hoping will happen here. “Better Together” has worked well for Scotland and we should use the same principle here!
The full text of the letter is attached below.
Cllr Kemp is available to talk about this on 07885 626913
Dear Joe, John and Steve,
I am sure that you will agree with me that now is the time for us to be decisive and press unitedly for the devolution of powers to our City Region. I understand that the Prime Minister has committed himself to such a transfer of powers and Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband have already done so.
But we should not wait for Westminster politicians to set the agenda for what happens up here. I believe that we should now work together to make sure that what is discussed meets Liverpool’s needs. I believe that Liverpool should convene a meeting of the Leaders of all political groups on the 6 councils in the City region with a view to establishing a joint campaign on the lines of the one that was so successful in Scotland but underwritten with a cohesive argument and narrative backed by our Universities; businesses and communities.
My preference is for a Liverpool City Region with real powers. Our population is the same as that of Northern Ireland and our GDP is greater. We could make all the decisions we need in the fields of structure planning, transport; economic development; tourism, culture, police, fire, inward investment; education up to 18; and primary health card. Our councils would still deliver what they do today. This is not a suggestion that would take power from them but power from Whitehall and Westminster.
It would be governed by a ‘Parliament’ chosen on a proportional basis by direct elections from the people of the area. Manifestos would force a debate on what the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of our area. Just as in Scotland people would decide for themselves their own future but would do so recognising that Liverpool City Region is part of a bigger whole. Yes we would for some things need to work with Cheshire or Manchester or Flintshire. Yes the Westminster Government would control some big functions although we might be able to influence them more in our areas.
But these are my ideas you might have others and the people of Liverpool might have even more!
Whatever we do I believe we should do together. Scotland has shown that tribal Party loyalties can be overcome when major constitutional issues are at stake.
I look forward to hearing from you that you either agree with this suggestion or have other ideas for cross party working.