Liverpool city mayor: Labour confirms referendum in 2023

image captionA referendum will be held on the future of the city mayoral role in 2023

People in Liverpool will be asked whether they still want to have a directly elected city mayor.

Joe Anderson was elected into the newly created role in 2012 but stepped aside recently after being arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation.

The council's ruling Labour group confirmed it would hold a referendum in 2023 on whether to scrap the role.

The Liberal Democrats want a public consultation on alternative models.

But Labour said the coronavirus pandemic made it "impossible" to run any such consultation before May's mayoral elections.

Councillor Dan Barrington outlined a motion to hold a referendum on the mayoral model in 2023 instead.

Lib Dem Councillor Richard Kemp argued many of Liverpool's problems were due to power being concentrated in "one pair of hands".

image captionLiverpool Mayor Joe Anderson will not seek re-election in May

After the meeting Councillor Kemp said it was "hardly surprising" that Labour had "kicked a consultation into the long grass".

They would "fight to the end" to preserve a mayoral system which "gives many of them large amounts of allowances in a system which is unaccountable to the council as a whole, or the people of Liverpool," he said.

Green Party group leader Tom Crone said it was "a missed opportunity for real meaningful change".

The Labour group, he said, had "denied people that choice and we will be lumbered with a mayor for another three years".

A councillor since 1998, Mr Anderson became Liverpool's first directly elected mayor in 2012 and earned a second term in 2016.

Mr Anderson said he would not fight for re-election in May due to the ongoing police investigation.

Deputy mayor Wendy Simon is serving asinterim mayor.

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