We Must Now Bite The Bullet and Go for an Elected Mayor for the Liverpool City Region

Liver Bird

The Liver Bird Must Soar

Anyone who has ever read my blogs will know that I am not in favour of Elected Mayors. The effects of one in Liverpool have hardly been uplifting! However I am now putting my own view aside and saying that although the option for having an Elected Mayor is a poor one the failure to grasp powers from central government by not having one is even poorer.
That is why I have written the letter below to the 6 Labour Leaders in the Liverpool City Region. Their inability to work together on major issues and instead fight like ferrets in a sack has been alarming and detrimental to the preservation of services and the creation of jobs in the City Region.
There is now too much at stake in terms of taking a much greater control of our own affairs than ever. There will be a terrible squeeze on public services in the coming years and the only way to mitigate at least some of those effects will be by taking control of greater budgets and using the money to meet local assessed needs with locally resourced organisations.
Are the Labour Leaders in the City Region big enough both to work together and to allow others into the discussion to try and build a consensus for change in our area? Only time will tell but a failure to do so will mean that they choose instead to put narrow factional politics and in-fighting before the needs of the people of the Liverpool City Region.

My Letter is here:

To All Labour Leaders in the Liverpool City Region

Dear Colleague,

Now is the time to bite the bullet on the Liverpool City Region.
You will be aware that I have a very low opinion on the merits of Elected Mayors – a view which I know is shared by some of you. I would have liked all political parties and those who have other important roles to play within our Liverpool City Region life to have got together and positively suggested other ways of governing the Liverpool City Region. However that option has now gone. It is quite clear that there will not be a maximum devolution of powers and responsibilities to the Liverpool City Region unless we have an Elected Mayor.
Having an Elected Regional Mayor might be a poor option but an even poorer option is not to have the devolved powers that Greater Manchester already has. That is why I have overcome my own reluctance for this position and have decided to endorse the idea of an elected Mayor for our City Region and I am writing to you today to urgently ask you to do likewise and set in motion discussions with the Tory Government to bring it about.
Quite simply the opportunity is too important not to be grasped. Although there is little new money available to us under a devolved city region there is the opportunity by introducing local decision making to improve the value we get from the spend which is currently dictated by bureaucrats in London. The opportunity to join up social care and health care using our local knowledge is of paramount importance. The other key area that we could grasp is effective marketing of the City Region for inward investment and employment creation activities.
I personally would like you to call a meeting for all political group leaders to discuss the options available to us to improve an elected mayor system which will otherwise be imposed on us without our input. That would give it the wisest possible support and approval for a way forward. If such inclusiveness for a major constitutional amendment is beyond you all then I would urge you to set aside differences within the City Region Board and apply to the Government to adopt a Mayoral Model way forward.

I look forward to hearing from you that you support a positive way forward for our City Region.
Yours sincerely,
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

Cc: Rt. Hon Greg Clark, Secretary of State DCLG

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 We Must Now Bite The Bullet and Go for an Elected Mayor for the Liverpool City Region

  1. Catherine says:

    Yes, I agree. The issue now is to make sure that there is proper transparency and accountability.
    The Manchester Mayor will be accountable to a committee composed of the leaders of all the component authorities – who can veto his (or her) proposals with a majority vote. Even Boris is accountable (to the London Assembly) and must answer questions from them (they have a version of Westminster’s PMQs).
    As we know to our cost, this is not what we have here in Liverpool (the Mayoral Select Committee is a farce, as the minutes make clear, while meetings of the full Council are no better, are they?). Most people here would prefer Joe to be held properly to account, and few would want to inflict his kind of regime on the rest of the city region. And that certainly applies to the other authorities – a proper system is, I would think, the only way they will get on board.
    I really hope all the region’s politicians can now get on with sorting this out.

  2. As far as Labour council leaders go their EGO’s are more important than ours and/or our children’s futures..we are being left far far behind..can we ever catch up..is it already too late?

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