Whitehall is taking over aspects of Liverpool City Council following a major property development scandal involving Liverpool’s ex-Mayor, Joe Anderson.

Corrupt Contracts

In December of last year, Anderson was arrested on suspicion of bribery in relation to the appalling mishandling of the city’s regeneration, highways and property. Liverpool has been a Labour stronghold for decades. As a Liverpudlian myself, I can confirm that to say that Joe Anderson has let the city down is an understatement.

The depth of the corruption was revealed in the Liverpool City Council Best Value Inspection. One of the major incidents related to the deconstruction of the Churchill Way Flyover. A contract was given to a company called Safety Support Consultants which turned out to be owned by David Anderson, Joe Anderson’s son. The report revealed that the Highways team did not know what the Health and Safety plan was before they started working on-site. The company was also not on the council’s approved list of contractors. The contract was intended to last 4-6 weeks but ended after 4 months. This ultimately cost the taxpayer £250,000 despite other contractors providing the same service at a lower cost being available.

The anti-Tory sentiment in Liverpool remains strong

Rather ironically, Anderson has previously said that the council operates as a business with the people as the customers and the aim being driving Liverpool forward. If this was a business then the customers would want their money back. Liverpool has worked extremely hard to recover from the days of Thatcher’s ‘managed decline’. Putting the city’s progress into the hands of the Tories drags us backwards rather than driving us forwards.

Joe Anderson portrays himself as a born and bred scouser. Someone who came from poverty and lived through Thatcher’s detrimental policies. He was supposed to represent us, protect the city from dwindling funding and prove that working-class people can work in politics. Instead, he inadvertently gave Liverpool back to the people that he claimed did not care about his city.

Is Labour losing Liverpool?

In the 2019 General Election Labour won 76.71 per cent of Liverpool’s votes. Despite this, the Conservatives won a landslide victory. Whilst other cities may sway, Liverpool remains staunchly Labour. To be a Tory from Liverpool is almost unheard of and during election campaigns, you won’t see a ‘Vote Conservative’ poster in effectively any window.

For this reason, the council coming under government control will be a painful transition. This government’s leader once claimed that Liverpool had a victim status. The bottom line is that Liverpool doesn’t like the Tories and the Tories do not like us. Joe Anderson is the reason that this is happening. He has stabbed us in the back. This is all the more painful given that this has come from a Labour Liverpudlian who prides himself on his humble background.

Liverpool’s relationship with the Tories has been one of distrust and hatred for a long time — hence the unwavering support of the Labour Party. Keir Starmer’s approach so far, including supporting this takeover, has led some Labour supporters to question the direction of the party. As of March 2021, 45 per cent of people feel that Starmer is doing badly as leader compared to just 17 per cent in May 2020.

The only way Labour will end the Tory reign is to unite people, not divide them. The majority of Liverpool will never vote to keep the Conservatives in power, but Labour still needs to be careful lest it begins losing its most loyal supporters.

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