What does the future hold for Liverpool City Council after report into corruption?

It's decision day: What will the future hold for Liverpool City council after corruption allegations Credit: ITV Granada

The government is considering taking control of Liverpool City Council in the wake of corruption allegations and the arrest of mayor Joe Anderson.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick is due to make a statement in the House of Commons, shortly after a report by Max Caller, a local government inspector, is made public.

Reports suggest Whitehall commissioners could be set to run day-to-day operations for the Labour authority.

The Government has never before intervened like this in a city the size of Liverpool.


Joe Anderson who stepped down as Liverpool City mayor during police investigation

Joe Anderson became the city's first directly-elected mayor in May 2012 after serving as the council leader and was then re-elected to the post in 2016.

In December, inspectors were sent in by Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick following the arrest of five men, including Mr Anderson, who was held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation.

Mr Anderson has insisted that the allegations are baseless and said he is suing Merseyside Police for wrongful arrest.

It follows an investigation by Merseyside Police into building and development contracts in the city.

The council's director of regeneration, Nick Kavanagh, was also arrested as part of the police probe into building and development contracts in the city, and this week it was confirmed he had been dismissed from his role at the authority.

Merseyside Police said all suspects remain under investigation but bail has not been extended.


Robert Jenrick is to make an announcement in the Commons

In December, Mr Jenrick stopped short of sending in commissioners to run the council but much depends on the findings of Max Calder's reports.

The government have three options following the inspection:

  • One is that no action at all is required following the inspection.

  • The second is of a non-statutory intervention, where new training and mentoring would be organised and an improvement panel would perhaps be installed to scrutinise the council and help it improve going forward.

  • The third route, and very much the nuclear option, would be for Mr Jenrick to order government commissioners to take over the full day-to-day operations of Liverpool City Council.


Liverpool's rapid Covid test centre

Liverpool has become a by-word for anti-Tory sentiment - the city last had a Conservative MP 38 years ago and its last Conservative councillor lost his seat 23 years ago.

Commentators have likened it to Mr Jenrick pressing "the nuclear button" with some blaming the Labour authority for giving the conservatives the excuse to take over.

The last time Liverpool was mentioned by a Secretary in State in Parliament, it was to praise its mass coronavirus testing programme back in November.

Now it's being discussed in very different terms, and it would be an understatement to suggest a Tory take over would be popular in this city, where they have few voters.

There hasn't been a Conservative councillor elected in Liverpool for decades.