Calls for resignations as government sends commissioners to city

Liverpool’s two largest opposition parties have both called for a slew of Labour councillors to resign after it was confirmed government commissioners would be sent to the city.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Liberal Party, the fourth largest in the city, has said problems within the council extend back long before Labour's hold on power began in 2010 and questioned whether the government's proposed changes would remedy the problem.

Secretary of State for housing, communities and local government Robert Jenrick confirmed the move today after a bombshell report from Max Caller highlighted numerous failures of governance at the council.

Lib Dem leader Richard Kemp said the report had “exposed grotesque practices” within the council and called for a number of senior figures in the Labour,administration, including current and former deputy mayors and cabinet members, to go.

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He said: “I will ask the senior Labour Representative being imposed on the Liverpool Labour Party to investigate all such people.”

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The Greens have similarly called for resignations, with leader Tom Crone saying all sitting Labour councillors “should resign as one”.

He said: “We need to sweep the stable clean today. Any administration with even an ounce of shame would resign immediately and allow the city to start afresh with leadership drawn for those councillors from all parties not tainted by this damning verdict.`

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“Placing so much power in the hands of one person, supported by Labour councillors reliant on him for political advancement was always going to end in tears.”

Steve Radford, the leader of the Liberal Party in the city, said there were "no great shocks" in the report and said issues within the council extended back years.

He said: "I did not need a government inspector to tell me that intimidation has been going on for decades, there were no great shocks in the report. It is not just a problem with Labour either."

Mr Radford did not call for resignations and said May's elections would give voters a chance to give their verdict on councillors.

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He said: "I was disappointed by the scope of the report and I don't see how the government's proposals will solve the problem. I am disappointed it has not looked at wider issues [outside of planning, highways and regeneration].

"I am not going to call for resignations. The electorate should be able to make the choice about the candidate in their ward and on the mayor in May."

In a statement, independent mayoral candidate Stephen Yip said the council had "failed the people of this great city" and vowed to make sweeping changes if elected in just over a month.

He said: "I'll create a new independent way for whistle-blowers to report dodgy deals and unethical behaviour and ensure wrongdoing and complaints are dealt with speedily and independently."

Liverpool’s Labour Party has remained quiet since the publication of Max Caller’s report, as have its councillors.

However, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram published a statement calling the report “difficult reading” and offering his support in making changes at the council.

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