Liverpool mayor should be scrapped, say Lib Dems and Greens

Richard Kemp Image copyright Liberal Democrats
Image caption Richard Kemp said his party needs 17,000 signatures on a petition to trigger a referendum

Liverpool should not have its own mayor following next year's elections for a post covering the whole city region, opposition councillors have said.

The Liberal Democrats and Green Party said the role, held by Joe Anderson, should be scrapped as it will duplicate much of the city region mayor's remit.

He has launched a petition aimed at sparking a referendum which could lead to the return of a leader and cabinet.

The Labour Party said the Lib Dems were ignoring public support for a mayor.

Lib Dem leader Richard Kemp said his petition needed 17,000 signatures to trigger a referendum.

Green Party Councillor Lawrence Brown also called for a return to the former structure of having a leader and cabinet.

"We believe the current system puts too much power in the hands of one person and away from individual councillors," he added.

The Liverpool City Region mayor - to be elected in May 2017 - was created as part of former chancellor George Osborne's plans for a Northern Powerhouse.

The region comprises Liverpool, St Helens, Knowsley, Sefton, and Wirral, as well as Halton in Cheshire.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Joe Anderson was elected Liverpool Mayor in 2012

Mr Anderson on Wednesday lost out to Steve Rotheram in his bid to become Labour's candidate.

The other parties have yet to declare their candidates.

Liverpool's city mayor is currently elected every four years - Mr Anderson comfortably retained the role earlier this year.

Mr Kemp said having two elected mayors - as well as a ceremonial lord mayor - was too complicated.

He said: "It's for the people of Liverpool to decide what system of government they want.

"Constitutional change should be the prerogative of the people of Liverpool, not the politicians of Liverpool, and that's why we'll be taking that petition out to them.

"If they support it, we'll have a referendum," he added.

A Labour Party statement said: "Joe Anderson has just been re-elected with over 51,000 votes because he delivered on all his promises from the 2012 election.

"Almost 100,000 people took part in the democratic process of electing the mayor this year, and the Lib Dems are trying to pretend that didn't happen."

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