THE row over the leadership of Merseyside’s new “super council” continues as St Helens Council leader Barrie Grunewald urges Joe Anderson to “stop playing silly games” after the Liverpool Mayor threatened to withdraw the city from the region.
Just one day after the first meeting of the new “super council”, Mayor Anderson is already seeking a way to pull the city out.
The Mayor accused other town hall leaders of playing “clandestine toy town politics” after they voted Wirral Council’s leader Phil Davies to be chairman of the new Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
But the vote for chairman was cast before Mayor Anderson and Sefton boss Cllr Peter Dowd had arrived.
It is believed Cllr Dowd was planning to nominate Mayor Anderson to be chairman, although they still would have been out-voted by four to two.
In an email to colleagues leaked to the Liverpool Echo, the clearly furious Mayor said that he and the city had been treated in a "totally disrespectful" manner.
But St Helens leader Cllr Grunewald said if Merseyside’s reputation was further damage by the row, it would be down to Mayor Anderson.
He said: “Due democratic process took place yesterday and I seconded the nomination of Cllr Davies as chair and proposed Cllr Ronnie Round as vice chair.
“In doing so I vote for the people I best felt able to carry out the role, working in partnership.
“It is very regretful that Mayor Anderson has responded in the way he has. All Labour leaders were in the building from 10am and indeed Cllr Anderson stated at our previous meeting he would be withdrawing Liverpool from the Combined Authority and not attend the meeting.
“That was a choice for him and I hope he now reflects on his actions and stops playing silly games and starts to work with the new body which was set up to attract new investment and our local growth plans, which is about bringing jobs in to our region.”
An email leaked by a Labour insider said: “Be in no doubt whatsoever, if Merseyside reputation is further damaged and money is withheld from us to progress our growth plan – the blame can only lie at one person’s door and that is Mayor Anderson.”