The art of not answering questions!


Liverpool Town Hall where my questions will NOT be properly answered later today

Today I have had three questions answered that I have submitted for the Council meeting this afternoon. Interestingly I am the only person to put any questions down to the meeting. I did them all on behalf of my three other colleagues as well as myself because they are either local issues which affect us all or they are citywide questions. You might want to ask why the other 86 councillors are not using this opportunity to publicly hold the Mayor and Cabinet to account which is an important part of the role of all councillors not in the Cabinet

If you want to have a look at the replies you can do so using this link. You might think that the answers do not have all that much relationship to the questions.

The first question is about the Beatles Legacy. In March it was made quite clear that South Liverpool, what we call the ‘Beatles Homeland Quarter,’ would be heavily involved in discussions about the legacy. This is important for South Liverpool and the city as a whole as we try and spread the benefits of that legacy to a wider area than the City Centre. In speaking to officers and others continually there was always an acceptance that meetings would be held with local communities, councillors and businesses. Apparently we are all wrong! I will however continue to fight for this to be done and indeed I am at a meeting tomorrow night about a potential Penny Lane Festival with other councillors from all Parties.

The second set of questions relate to what company we bought into when we claimed in a press release to have made an investment in the airport. Most normal people would assume that we now have an ownership of part of the airport itself. As we can now see that is not the case. We own part of another company. I asked the Mayor to specifiy what the assets were. He has not done so. I asked him to confirm that the ultimate owners of the part of the airport that we don’t control was an offshore company. The Mayor avoided the question by repeating that it is a UK registered company. In fact all Peel Companies are ultimately controlled offshore. You can speculate why that is!

The third querstion passes a buck to somewhere else. In December last year the Mayor told the Friends of Harthill & Calderstones Park that Redrow would have a consultation event before submitting a planning application for the area in the Park off Harthill Road. They clearly have no intention of doing so. BUT the Mayor can make them do so if he chooses. The submission for planning is from Redrow but is put in as part of a Strategic Housing Partnership between Redrow and the Council. The fact is that neither the Council or Redrow are prepared to meet local people. Last night local residents and the Friends called a public meeting which more than 240 people attended. None of the 5 local Labour councillors turned up. None of the 3 Labour representatives responsible for the Parks and land disposals turned up. Redrow and their agents declined to attend. This a People’s park and they need to be listened to when decisions are being made about the community assets which the Council should hold in trust for this and future genrations.

So the responses are not very good BUT we will continue to ask questions which we believe should be answered. I will continue to let you know the answers to those questions and what lies behind the answers and none answers. That is what the people of Church Ward, Allerton Ward and Woolton Ward elected me, Cllr Juarez and Cllr Makinson to do. We will not shirk that responsibility.




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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