Disgraceful Scenes at Liverpool Town Hall as Labour vote down motions on Academic Freedom; sodium valproate; Safe Parking & supported Redrow Homes domination of Liverpool housing


Liverpool Town Hall was again seen as part of a ‘demockery’ than a democracy as Labour voted down very reasonable Lib Dem motions and the Mayor used sexist language

There were disgraceful scenes in Liverpool Town Hall last night as Labour voted against four Lib Dem motions on four areas of vital concern to the people of Liverpool. As usual the Mayor of Liverpool let himself and his Party down by accusing Cllr Juarez of being a fishwife and then telling the Liverpool Echo that this was neither sexist or an insult! We will be reporting him to the Council’s Standards Committee.

The first defeat we expected. Labour voted against a very reasonable call to end the partnership with Redrow Homes and build homes that people want; that fights the scourge of shabby leasehold deals and which would increase the revenue into the Council. What we did not expect was the two remaining Labour councillors for Allerton& Hunts Cross and one of the Labour councillors for Woolton vigorously defending Redrow. This is what Labour voted against:

Housing Policy by Councillors Mirna Juarez and Andrew Makinson

Council believes that Jeremy Corbyn is right when he says that good housing should be for the “Many and Not the Few”.  Accordingly, it requests the Mayor of Liverpool to end the Partnership with Redrow Homes and advertise all land suitable for housing in the Council’s ownership to all builders producing more modest and affordable homes which would keep more of our young people in the City after their first move from apartments and by having a higher density would bring greater council tax revenues for the City.

Further it calls on council land to be sold for housing only if the freehold is sold to the house purchaser as part of the original sale.

They then went on to a motion which we had naively expected to get all-Party support for because it relates to concerns about mothers and their unborn children and what could happen to them if Sodium Valproate is used during pregnancy. We don’t know why they voted against it because the motion was not debated:

Sodium Valproate by Councillor Mirna Juarez

Council notes that sodium valproate carries a high risk of abnormalities in unborn babies if the drug is taken during pregnancy by epileptic bi-polar and migraine patients. Campaigners reckon that as many as 20,000 children in the UK could have been harmed by the drug.

When sodium valproate is taken during pregnancy it can affect how the baby develops in the womb and cause birth defects, including:

·      ‘minor malformations’ (such as small fingers and toes) and

·      ‘major malformations’ (such as spina bifida or a cleft palate, which may need surgery to correct them).

When sodium valproate is taken during pregnancy, it may also affect the child’s development and learning after they are born and as they grow up.  These problems can include –

·       delayed walking and talking;

·       poor speech and language skills;

·       memory problems; and

·       lower intelligence than other children of the same age.

Children exposed to sodium valproate in the womb are also more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder. 

To avoid unplanned pregnancy, women and girls of child bearing ages need to be aware of effective contraception if taking sodium valproate to control epileptic seizures as the drug can affect the efficiency of contraception methods.

Due to severe harm that this drug can cause to unborn babies, that this Council will conduct a public health campaign aimed at childbearing women in the city that will highlight the severe effects of sodium valproate.

Labour then sided with a Tory whip who sent letters around to try and dig out information about the work being done by Universities and their lecturers. This failure to support academic freedom is an absolute disgrace. Again, this is the motion that Labour voted down without a vote:

Academic Integrity of our Universities by Councillors Malcolm Kelly and Richard Kemp, CBE

Council recognises that our Universities in Liverpool are among the best in the UK and that Liverpool Universities are among the best in the World. It believes that one of the reasons for this is the academic integrity of our universities and the respect that this gives them which enables them to attract students at all levels and research.

It therefore regrets that a senior Conservative MP has tried to find out the names and course content of lecturers in political or European Studies dealing with issues relating to Brexit.

It believes that Liverpool needs all the information it can get on a Brexit which will cause major problems for our industry and commerce. It therefore supports the Vice Chancellors of Liverpool; Liverpool John Moore’s and Liverpool Hope Universities in resisting the request for information and asks them to continue to provide properly researched and academically rigorous papers which outline the effect of Brexit on our City Region.

Lastly, they voted against a self-financing way of improving road safety in the City. Anyone who goes into any of our district centres like Allerton Road; Woolton Village; Old Swan and Allerton Road know that people park dangerously; disrupt the flow of traffic for other car users and push pedestrians, especially those with prams and mobility problems, onto the street. Why did Labour oppose this very reasonable request? We don’t know because there was no debate. This is the motion:

Parking and safety on our Streets

Council notes the significant issues throughout the city caused by inconsiderate parking. These include risk of injury to pedestrians and danger to other road users, together with a cost to the council in repairing damaged pavements, and tripping claims. These issues led the previous Liberal Democrat administration to decriminalise parking enforcement in Liverpool in 2004, and set up a team of 60 Parking Enforcement Officers.

Council notes that the current number of Parking Enforcement Officers has now fallen to 38, despite the service being self-financing, and consistently generating a surplus which is invested in highway safety measures.

Council further notes the continuing demand from communities across Liverpool for adequate parking enforcement, especially around schools, and that the resolution unanimously agreed at the council meeting on 20thSeptember 2017 to crackdown on pavement parking will result in even further demand on overstretched enforcement team.

Council therefore calls upon the Cabinet Member for Highways and City Services to urgently seek to restore the parking enforcement team to their previous levels, and examine whether this number will be adequate to cope with their planned additional responsibility to deal with pavement parking.

So just to recap Labour like Redrow but do not care about Pedestrian Safety; the safety of unborn children or academic freedom. We hope that the people of Liverpool will remember this callous behaviour when they come to vote next May.

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 Disgraceful Scenes at Liverpool Town Hall as Labour vote down motions on Academic Freedom; sodium valproate; Safe Parking & supported Redrow Homes domination of Liverpool housing

  1. paul says:

    no suprise there Richard. the Anderson Echo won’t print any of this

  2. Joedd says:

    to call a woman ‘a fish wife’ is sexist – disrespectful – offensive – scurrilous – vitriolic. My G Grandmother was a fish hawker and I’m very proud of her she worked hard in dire circumstances. Mayor Anderson is an uncouth odious man whose aim is to hurdle insults at people who question him, he is politically and socially inept.


    Something fishy as ever from the benches of councillors who do not know the little detail is important , not only the big headlines. Richard Kemp serving Liverpool well indeed..

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