“Do as I say not do as I do” culture in Liverpool’s Labour Party

Councillors who set rules to control parking in the city should follow them or they are behaving just like their mates the Tories in Westminster

I believe that Liverpool Labour Party has the same, “Do as I say not as I do culture” as Boris Johnson’s Tory Party after an investigation which has shown that former Labour Cabinet members used a back door route to get Parking Tickets cancelled by a senior council officer.

I received information in March last year that the 3 former Labour Cabinet members had got a council officer to cancel 18 parking tickets. Senior officers and friends and relatives of senior officers had also used the same route. Because of the way that I received the information I could not go public on it. I did, however, immediately put in a complaint through our standards procedures. I was amazed to be told in October that for technical reasons the complaints that I had made could not be proceeded with. This was despite the information coming to light via police action.

This matter has become public after members of the Labour Party contacted parts of the local media. I have responded because the matter is a serious one of trust in those that run Liverpool. It may be bigger than I thought because other Labour names have been mentioned by Labour members to the media than the names that I know. This is a sign of the fact that Labour’s factions are spending more time arguing with each other than they are taking on the Tories.

There are a number of places that councillors and staff can legally park free of charge whilst on council business. These are conveniently situated for the Cunard Buildings and the Town Hall where most of our meetings take place. I have no hesitation in using them and so should they and not fill up spaces that cash paying members of the public can use with a benefit to the Council’s finances.

I have no problem with the idea of any councillor or member of the public objecting to a parking ticket and asking for a review if they feel that the ticketing is unfair. But councillors should go through the same fair and quasi-judicial processes as everyone else.  They should not just demand the cancellation of properly given fixed penalty notices.

I am raising the matter by way of a question to the Elected Mayor at Council on 26th January to ensure that all councillors, staff and members of the public clearly understand that Councillors have to follow the rules like everyone else.

I hope that the Labour Party, who know the names of the councillors concerned because at least 5 Labour councillors were given the same information as me, will insist that the councillors pay up the £1,080 due for the original fine and for late payment. I also hope that they will go further than that. The Labour Party nationally has taken control of all selections to the Council for the 2023 and 2027 elections.

I believe that these people who are still councillors should not be allowed to stand again. That is, however, a matter for the Labour Party not for me. Our job will be to defeat if they aren’t precluded by Labour.

There may be those that say I am just picking a fight here on a matter of little significance and where if the councillors paid the £1,080 known to be unpaid it would make little difference to the £34 million that the Council needs to cut from its budget. I clearly disagree. Just as with the duplicity and lying of Johnson and the Tory Party at Westminster the people of Liverpool should be able to rely on those of us who set the rules to follow them. In fact, I think that anyone in an elected position should set themselves higher standards than those who have elected them.

As a council we need to expel every bit of the stench of corruption that hangs over our heads and by implication over our city. Against the £135 million that we know has been wasted, lost or incompetently used this might be small beer but sometimes it’s the small things that go unchecked that lead to bigger things.

Liverpool Council needs to adopt a zero tolerance to corruption and it should start by making sure that all its Councillors relationships with the council are honest and transparent so that the electorate of Liverpool can have confidence that they will elect councillors who put the people’s needs above their own.

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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2 Responses to “Do as I say not do as I do” culture in Liverpool’s Labour Party

  1. GaryJ says:

    What does “on council business” mean in the 4th paragraph? If a council officer’s job (eg social worker) involves making multiple visits across the city, then it seems right that they can do it by car and have free parking back at base.

    However if a councillor or officer is working at the same desk all day or coming in for meetings shouldn’t they be encouraged to use public transport just like anyone else and not have car travel incentivised? Perhaps some of the reserved places should be vacated and used by cash-paying customers making a contribution to the Council’c finances

    • richardkemp says:

      Most officers and councillors, like me, do use public transport to get in and out for meetings. However there are times when they need to drive in for a variety of reasons. They are infirm, they have to go on somewhere, they have voluminous papers to carry around. In such a case it is not unreasonable for the council to provide parking for them.

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