Police complaint made over councillors’ lockdown garden gathering

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A police complaint has been made over two Liverpool Labour councillors who flouted lockdown laws this weekend.

Married couple Barry and Joann Kushner have also been referred to the whips' office of the ruling Labour group for investigation.

The ECHO revealed yesterday that the councillors had been seen socialising with 10 members of their family on land at their Allerton home on Saturday – with several family members travelling from elsewhere.

This appeared to be a clear breach of the rules in place at the time, which stated that people should not be meeting up with friends and family at different houses because of the potential spread of coronavirus.

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Norris Green Cllr Barry Kushner, the council's cabinet member for children's services and his wife, Crotexth Cllr Joann Kushner have been faced with calls to resign over the incident – but defended their actions.

When asked for a response, the Kushners told the ECHO that this was not an organised gathering and that several different family members who do not live at the property turned up unannounced.

Cllr Barry Kushner said: "Joann's mum and dad decided to turn up and brought their own chairs with them, we were already having a barbecue at the time.

"We did tell them that we weren't supposed to be gathering together and they weren't here for very long."

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Cllr Kushner said that around the same time his eldest daughter and her children arrived at the house, also 'independently.'

He added: "It wasn't an organised party and they didn't come in the house, they've parked their cars and walked up to the grass.

"I know it looks like we were holding a party but we weren't, its difficult to say no and tell relatives to go away, but they weren't here for long."

Now it can be revealed that an official complaint has been filed regarding the event with Merseyside Police – as well as a complaint to the Liverpool Labour group.

The ECHO has seen a response from Merseyside Police that says the complaint has been forwarded to a Local Area Policing Team for further action.

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The email states that while the force has no authority to enter someone's home, it does have the power to issue fines to those travelling for a non-essential purpose.

The Kushners are also being investigated by the Liverpool Labour group over the garden gathering.

When asked for a response to the story today, Liverpool's Labour Mayor Joe Anderson said: "My message to everyone, no matter who that is, is that we all have to stick to the rules in place.

"This matter has now been referred to the party whips and is being looked at internally."

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