LIVERPOOL council last night voted in favour of an elected mayor for the city.
The change was voted through after a meeting of the full council last night, where the ruling Labour administration defeated Liberal Democrat proposals to obstruct the plan and voted in favour of the major change. Click here to revisit our live blog from the night.
But while the Labour group argued the changes would unlock more than £130m of spending power offered up by the government in return for adopting a mayoral system, the Lib Dems argued making the change without giving the public a say through a referendum suggested Labour was “scared” of “the will of the people”.
Lib Dem deputy leader Cllr Richard Kemp argued the changes proposed by the Labour administration were undemocratic.
But Labour leader Cllr Joe Anderson accused the Lib Dems of “breath-taking arrogance” in claiming they were concerned about democracy, adding: “This is also breath-taking ignorance.
“Cllr Kemp actually said he was very concerned about democracy but I’m sure, and I’m sure everyone else is sure, that his party is in a coalition government that was not democratically decided on, yet here we have him lecturing about democracy.”
Cllr Kemp questioned what Labour was so afraid of, adding: “I don’t believe a major constitutional change should be decided by a caucus of the Labour Party or this council chamber, it should be decided by the people of Liverpool.”
After the vote, which saw 63 in favour, three opposed and 12 abstaining, government Cities Minister Greg Clark said: “This is an historic opportunity for Liverpool to build a prosperous future and achieve its full potential. Liverpool is showing the way forward.”
Cllr Anderson will now seek the Labour Party nomination to run in the May 3 election.
The only candidates confirmed are celebrity Liverpool hairdresser Herbert Howe and pro-elected mayor campaigner Liam Fogarty.