I really hope that the other four Council Groups will accept the Liberal Democrat call for greater cooperation after the local elections
In advance of the close of nominations for the Council on Tuesday I have written to the other four Group Leaders in Liverpool asking all political parties within the Council to support five key pledges relating to how they will behave after the election to create the Council that is needed to finally create a strong future for the city after a decade of waste and corruption.
Although there has been an improvement within the council that I have acknowledged, there is still a long way to go before Liverpool becomes a ‘normal’ council. We believe that the way forward must be for politicians to minimise their differences after the election and maximise the many things which they share.
In practice the problem in Liverpool has not been about ideology but about the leadership given to ensure that the Council runs efficient. It is not a judgement on left or right but between competence and incompetence.
This has been added to by the fact that there has been no long-term strategy from the Council for the City. Instead, there has been a series of short-term measures many of which were wrong. Even had they been right they did not add up to enough to keep Liverpool moving forward in these times of great stresses and changes.
The world is changing around us with climate change, IT and technology changes, societal changes and challenges caused by the way we have crashed out of Europe. There will inevitably be differences between what the political parties in Liverpool want to see as the long-term future for the city. However, many of the differences are minor and we will create a strong city if we concentrate on those things on which can agree on and jointly work together to deliver them.
We need to move away from the normal political concept of control and opposition to create a ‘Team Liverpool’ in which we work together on behalf of the people to root out the remaining problems of corruption, mismanagement, and incompetence.
Clearly, up to Election Day it is right that we set out to the people of our city our differing views on how the city council and the city will progress. Liberal Democrats will be fighting hard to maximise our position and influence within the council. We have completed a detailed manifesto indicating our plan for the four years which we will launch shortly after Easter.
I have written today to the other four Group Leaders within the Council asking them to commit to these common-sense proposals preferably before the election but if necessary after it. I really hope that they will agree to these very sensible proposals which I know, having talked to hundreds of people on their own doorsteps in the past few weeks is what the people of Liverpool want as well.
Five key pledges for Liverpool Council Group Leaders
In view of the severe problems which still exist within Liverpool Council we, the Group Leaders of the five council groups in Liverpool, pledge to:
- Work together wherever possible to resolve outstanding issues of honesty, probity and governance. Supporting each other when we can but opposing each other when we need to.
- Specifically work together to ensure that all Parties are involved in the scrutiny process around the key decisions and strategies of the Council both reactively and proactively.
- Ensure that all Parties will be represented on all outside bodies and committees and committees within the Council on a basis based on the proportionality of numbers within the Council.
- Ourselves behave in such a way as to show that we provide leadership on the proper behaviour of all councillors in the city in terms of mutual respect, listening to each other, opposing and discussing different views and debating in a civilised way and generally acting courteously at all times in our relationships with other councillors and with council staff.
- Actively encourage our councillors to participate in all training activities to increase the knowledge and skills of all councillors.
This is really good news for the city. Let’s hope others see how far we have to go and what needs to be done to get there.