Joe Anderson once again has a letter in the Liverpool Echo today saying that other people than him are holding back the development of a city region wide authority which would bring us untold riches. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is because he peddles the myth that Mayoralties work and bring benefits that Liverpool City Region’s Labour leaders are squabbling over the future.
Two years ago I suggested a constitutional convention whereby all could get together to consider the future governance of the city region. The Combined Authority is only a quango and must be replaced by a body which is democratically accountable at first hand to the tax payers of the City Region.
I will work with people of all parties and of none to effect democratic change in the City Region which may mean an ened to the elected mayoralty in Liverpool that no-one asked for and no-one voted for.
Here’s the letter that I have sent to the Liverpool Echo today.
What a mess Labour’s Labour Leaders have got us into in the Liverpool City Region. More than two years ago when it became clear that the Government was particularly interested in the development of city regions I wrote to all the 6 Labour leaders suggesting that a convention be established with membership from all Parties and none to consider and agree a way forward for a city region wide body. Not one Labour leader replied.
Had we had this convention we would now be ready to tell the Government not just what the Labour Party wants ,which is very difficult to discern, but what the people of the Liverpool City Region want, which would be very hard to oppose.
Joe Anderson is once again propogating a mayoral myth. He told us that if Liverpool had a Mayor we would get more power, more money, more influence. He was told that this was not the case and indeed he has failed to get any of these things. He now says the same for the City Region when again he has been told this will not be the case. The Deputy Prime Minister has made it clear that a mayoral model is only one of the models that would lever in more cash and influence. The Prime Minister made it clear that parliamentary time would be given to the City Region if it could show a clear majority of local opinion in favour of a political way forward.
Instead of big plans we have small time back room politicking with 6 men squabbling like ferrets in a sack. We do not need and do not want a City Region Mayor. In fact I believe that by May 2016 we will not even have a Liverpool Mayor. We don’t even want a combined authority. What we want is a small elected authority covering the strategic region which would enable the people of the area to express their opinions on the future of their area through the ballot box.
Let’s work together to make that happen.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats