Labour inquiry into Liverpool City Council failings holds first meeting

Sienna Rodgers

Labour’s own review of alleged wrongdoing at Liverpool City Council – asked to report by July 1st – held its first meeting today, with ex-minister David Hanson leading the party inquiry and former council leader Judith Blake assisting.

The panel has been tasked with looking at the findings of a report by Max Caller, accepted in full by the Labour leadership last month. The government said there was an “overall environment of intimidation” at Liverpool City Council.

Robert Jenrick, the Local Government Secretary, said there had been a failure in due process across planning and regeneration, in scrutiny across highways, in proper process on property management, as well as poor governance.

Speaking today, following the review’s first meeting, Hanson said: “Our priority is putting the people of Liverpool first. This great city deserves a response from the Labour Party locally and nationally into the recommendations made by Max Caller.

“Labour is committed to playing our part in tackling the problems set out in this report. We want to get to the bottom of what has gone wrong and help to put it right. The panel will not be providing a running commentary on its work, prior to sending its report to the party.”

Judith Blake, Baroness Blake of Leeds, added: “We are looking forward to meeting people from across the party in Liverpool in the coming weeks. We are inviting submissions from party members in Liverpool City region.”

The Labour peer confirmed that the review has agreed a timetable and process for the inquiry, and has asked Lord Roy Kennedy to support its work. Kennedy is a shadow spokesperson for housing, communities and local government.

Kennedy was elected to Southwark Council at the age of 23 in 1986 and later served as deputy leader of the council. He worked for the Labour Party for 21 years and served as an Electoral Commissioner for a term.

Labour’s panel is inviting submissions by email until May 21st, initially wishing only to hear from people in the Liverpool City Region. It will investigate any failings in governance, oversight and scrutiny relating to the party in Liverpool.

It is understood that the review will take steps to promote the integrity and effectiveness of Labour in Liverpool, and determine the support and guidance needed for the Labour group to deliver the required reforms.

The panel also intends to assess whether any Labour rules, procedures or codes of conduct have been breached and to make recommendations about the party’s organisation, structures, rules and procedures to avoid repeats of issues raised in Liverpool.

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