Wirral mayor-making ceremony set to be a stormy affair

UPDATED: Wirral mayor-making ceremony set to be a stormy affair

Councillor Chris Blakeley: 'My position has been clear all year and it’s certainly not going to change now'

Deputy mayor Cllr Steve Foulkes: 'We have an understanding that the mayoralty is detached from politics'

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Editor

WIRRAL’S mayor-making ceremony on Monday night is set to be a stormy affair with at least one councillor abandoning the traditional show of cross-party unity by voting against Cllr Steve Foulkes to be the borough’s new civic leader.

Outspoken Conservative councillor Chris Blakeley was hauled before a disciplinary standards committee last year after saying he believed the former Labour leader of the council was “not fit” to be Wirral’s mayor.

Following these remarks, Cllr Foulkes made a complaint under the Members’ Code of Conduct.

However, the investigation concluded Cllr Blakeley was “acting in his official capacity” when he made the comments and that no breach of the code had occurred.

Today Cllr Blakeley told the Globe his opposition to Cllr Foulkes will continue.

“My position has been clear all year and it’s certainly not going to change now.

“I will be voting against Cllr Foulkes. I know this won’t be popular with the Labour group; it may also upset some of my colleagues and some of the council’s invited guests.

“But I will remain true to my views.

“I could stay away on the night, but that would be the coward’s way out.

“I will stand up and be counted.”

Labour leader of the council Cllr Phil Davies said: "It's a shame that Chris is taking this stance.

"Mayor-making is meant to be above the usual rough and tumble of politics. It's meant to be a celebration of the office.

"Whoever it is becoming mayor, whether it's Steve Foulkes or somebody else, they will have their friends and family there on the night and I feel sorry if they have to witness this sort of thing.

"It brings the whole ceremony into disrepute and we can do without it."

At the time when Cllr Blakekey made his original comments, Cllr Foulkes said: “We have an understanding that the mayoralty is detached from politics. I will keep my dignity and try to keep the dignity of the borough intact.

“The fact that Chris Blakeley is the Tory chief whip adds significance to the issue, but I don’t know if this is the official line of the Tories or Chris Blakeley on a rant. If it is the official line, then it is reprehensible.”

Councillor Blakeley said his stance is not official Tory group policy and it will be a free vote: “I know five of my colleagues opposed Cllr Foulkes being appointed deputy mayor last year.

“It’s quite possible they will oppose him again on Monday. But that will be for them to decide.”

This year’s ceremony already has been mired in discord before it even begins.

In a break with tradition, mayor-making is moving from the Civic Hall at Wallasey Town Hall to be held in New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion Theatre.

Tories have opposed the change.

Their leader, Cllr Jeff Green, has said: "This is still a formal meeting of the council and there has been no discussion or consultation over this matter instead the Labour administration have taken a unilateral decision to move this ceremony and communicated this decision via the chief executive.

"I know I am not alone in viewing this as a distasteful and ill-conceived move.

"Annual council is an important, solemn event which should be held in the Civic Hall.

"It is not a party and it is certainly not the pantomime that's accompanying these arrangements."

Councillor Davies said: "The reality is that the Floral Pavilion is a nice venue and holding mayor-making there will make for a more enjoyable experience. I don't really see the move as a big issue.

"There is no legal requirement to hold the ceremony at the town hall.”

The mayoral role is seen as a non-political position and includes chairing full meetings of the council as well as attending civic functions and representing the borough.

The civic honour is especially important this year as Wirral welcomes the return of the Open Golf Championship in July.

Councillor Foulkes was town hall leader during a torrid period when a critical governance report in 2011 by consultant investigator Anna Klonowski hammered the local authority.

The report looked into claims of whistleblower Martin Morton, a former social services employee who was bullied and forced out of his job after revealing systematic financial abuse of vulnerable people in council care.

Ms Klonowski wrote at the time: “Practices other authorities would consider abnormal had become commonplace in Wirral."

 

Comments (19)

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1:34pm Fri 30 May 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Another pantomime at the Floral! Tbh, don't really see the value in having a Mayor. Just seems to be an expense the Council could do without and use for more important purposes.
Another pantomime at the Floral! Tbh, don't really see the value in having a Mayor. Just seems to be an expense the Council could do without and use for more important purposes. Joeblogg85
  • Score: 11

3:33pm Fri 30 May 14

Jack Boot says...

OOh! this pantomine sounds like good fun, can I buy a ticket? I like shouting 'BEHIND YOU!' but usually they don't have a knife and are in a queue....
Looking forward to meeting our new mayor at the Wirral Bikeathon, providing he survives his indocrination.
OOh! this pantomine sounds like good fun, can I buy a ticket? I like shouting 'BEHIND YOU!' but usually they don't have a knife and are in a queue.... Looking forward to meeting our new mayor at the Wirral Bikeathon, providing he survives his indocrination. Jack Boot
  • Score: 6

3:48pm Fri 30 May 14

Llamedos 1 says...

What a hypocrite Davies is....he states "Mayor-making is meant to be above the usual rough and tumble of politics. It's meant to be a celebration of the office" WHAT ABOUT THE GOVERNANCE OF WIRRAL.....that should be more importantly above the rough and tumble of party politics than any mayor making ceremony, even more so as they have chosen Foulkes.
What a hypocrite Davies is....he states "Mayor-making is meant to be above the usual rough and tumble of politics. It's meant to be a celebration of the office" WHAT ABOUT THE GOVERNANCE OF WIRRAL.....that should be more importantly above the rough and tumble of party politics than any mayor making ceremony, even more so as they have chosen Foulkes. Llamedos 1
  • Score: 9

4:26pm Fri 30 May 14

reliant22 says...

Foulkes has got his way yet again, no conscience or shame with regard to the atrocities that happened on his watch.
However, we still have Martin Morton to thank for exposing the wrongs. What has he gained for his honesty and integrity? nothing in comparison to the wrongdoers.
There`s no justice and seemingly......bulli
ng does pay. unfortunately .
I wish Chris Blakely a lot of success on the night.
Foulkes has got his way yet again, no conscience or shame with regard to the atrocities that happened on his watch. However, we still have Martin Morton to thank for exposing the wrongs. What has he gained for his honesty and integrity? nothing in comparison to the wrongdoers. There`s no justice and seemingly......bulli ng does pay. unfortunately . I wish Chris Blakely a lot of success on the night. reliant22
  • Score: 17

4:53pm Fri 30 May 14

frank h says...

well it could be worse, they could close new Brighton promenade. Hold the ceremony on the roundabout with the clown looking down on our new mayor
well it could be worse, they could close new Brighton promenade. Hold the ceremony on the roundabout with the clown looking down on our new mayor frank h
  • Score: 13

5:30pm Fri 30 May 14

Thepleb says...

Why in these times of austerity and massive job losses in council staff and services do these clowns want to congratulate the worst council leader ever seen on the Wirral, remember destination excellence another big meeting held at the floral it was absolute dross chaired by foulkes and three months later he sailed off into the sunset after a vote of no confidence, this man is meant to represent the Wirral what a bad state we are in, and is it it just coincidence that the golf is on this year I hope Rory Mcllroy can still concentrate when the Mayors chains are clanging behind him of champagne glasses
Why in these times of austerity and massive job losses in council staff and services do these clowns want to congratulate the worst council leader ever seen on the Wirral, remember destination excellence another big meeting held at the floral it was absolute dross chaired by foulkes and three months later he sailed off into the sunset after a vote of no confidence, this man is meant to represent the Wirral what a bad state we are in, and is it it just coincidence that the golf is on this year I hope Rory Mcllroy can still concentrate when the Mayors chains are clanging behind him of champagne glasses Thepleb
  • Score: 18

8:01pm Fri 30 May 14

eleccy says...

Putin would be impressed by this shower of shi**e
Putin would be impressed by this shower of shi**e eleccy
  • Score: 12

10:01pm Fri 30 May 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Thepleb wrote:
Why in these times of austerity and massive job losses in council staff and services do these clowns want to congratulate the worst council leader ever seen on the Wirral, remember destination excellence another big meeting held at the floral it was absolute dross chaired by foulkes and three months later he sailed off into the sunset after a vote of no confidence, this man is meant to represent the Wirral what a bad state we are in, and is it it just coincidence that the golf is on this year I hope Rory Mcllroy can still concentrate when the Mayors chains are clanging behind him of champagne glasses
Ha ha, "Destination Excellence" was just another load of sh&te dreamt up by "She who must be obeyed" to justify the massive salary. In reality it was just another monumental PR failure. Wirral Council wouldn't know excellence if it bit them on the ar&e! Will I have to pay out thousands in compo now for "hurt feelings"?
[quote][p][bold]Thepleb[/bold] wrote: Why in these times of austerity and massive job losses in council staff and services do these clowns want to congratulate the worst council leader ever seen on the Wirral, remember destination excellence another big meeting held at the floral it was absolute dross chaired by foulkes and three months later he sailed off into the sunset after a vote of no confidence, this man is meant to represent the Wirral what a bad state we are in, and is it it just coincidence that the golf is on this year I hope Rory Mcllroy can still concentrate when the Mayors chains are clanging behind him of champagne glasses[/p][/quote]Ha ha, "Destination Excellence" was just another load of sh&te dreamt up by "She who must be obeyed" to justify the massive salary. In reality it was just another monumental PR failure. Wirral Council wouldn't know excellence if it bit them on the ar&e! Will I have to pay out thousands in compo now for "hurt feelings"? Joeblogg85
  • Score: 20

11:17am Sat 31 May 14

PaulCa says...

So we have to regard the sensibilities of the family and friends of the former leader and portfolio holder for Social Services during years of abuse do we?

The disrepute began to rain down when Davies put pen to paper and endorsed his chum's application for mayoral "status". A strong leader would have put his foot down, but instead Davies took the easy option and closed ranks. Amid torrents of understandable outrage and horror.

Davies' and Foulkes' reprehensible conduct is yet another kick in the teeth to the public... not just on Wirral but all over the country.

I do hope they don't attempt to ban filming on the night. Nobody will be frisking me for my mobile phone. That much is guaranteed.
So we have to regard the sensibilities of the family and friends of the former leader and portfolio holder for Social Services during years of abuse do we? The disrepute began to rain down when Davies put pen to paper and endorsed his chum's application for mayoral "status". A strong leader would have put his foot down, but instead Davies took the easy option and closed ranks. Amid torrents of understandable outrage and horror. Davies' and Foulkes' reprehensible conduct is yet another kick in the teeth to the public... not just on Wirral but all over the country. I do hope they don't attempt to ban filming on the night. Nobody will be frisking me for my mobile phone. That much is guaranteed. PaulCa
  • Score: 17

11:24am Sat 31 May 14

EddieGremlin says...

Real reason, Blakely is spitting his dummy out, because HE wants to be Mayor... Blakely has a habit of of saying one think and doing the other, he also spends most of his time at council meetings playing on his iPad. Hope he's enjoying being in bed with McVile.
Is McVile having Blackely on her staff a good use of TAX PAYERS MONEY?
Real reason, Blakely is spitting his dummy out, because HE wants to be Mayor... Blakely has a habit of of saying one think and doing the other, he also spends most of his time at council meetings playing on his iPad. Hope he's enjoying being in bed with McVile. Is McVile having Blackely on her staff a good use of TAX PAYERS MONEY? EddieGremlin
  • Score: -9

4:16pm Sat 31 May 14

JohnON says...

"Real reason, Blakely is spitting his dummy out, because HE wants to be Mayor... "

He's already stated his reasons AND had a Foulkes-initiated enquiry to back him up!

The trouble is some people can't (or won't) see the truth when it's two inches from their noses. Why else would anyone be stupid enough to vote this shower into power again - although 'never bite the hand that feeds you' does spring to my mind.
"Real reason, Blakely is spitting his dummy out, because HE wants to be Mayor... " He's already stated his reasons AND had a Foulkes-initiated enquiry to back him up! The trouble is some people can't (or won't) see the truth when it's two inches from their noses. Why else would anyone be stupid enough to vote this shower into power again - although 'never bite the hand that feeds you' does spring to my mind. JohnON
  • Score: 14

9:49am Sun 1 Jun 14

Hugo1008 says...

I would urge and even beg the body of Wirral Borough Council all of you elected peoples representatives regardless of what ever your political persuasion is if you have a scrap of decency or truthful integrity within you you should every single one of you, voice your true honest opinion about the appointment of the Mayor.

Do not cower behind some wishy washy excuse about protocol, procedure, or practice, stand up and be a Human Being and be heard, if Steve Foukes warrants being Mayor of Wirral, then you should have the guts to say so one way or the other.
Demonstrate for once that an elected Councillor actually does have some basic integrity and is capable of being truly honest, not just to him or her self, but to the electorate of Wirral.
Speak up or be dammed by your silence for ever.
I would urge and even beg the body of Wirral Borough Council all of you elected peoples representatives regardless of what ever your political persuasion is if you have a scrap of decency or truthful integrity within you you should every single one of you, voice your true honest opinion about the appointment of the Mayor. Do not cower behind some wishy washy excuse about protocol, procedure, or practice, stand up and be a Human Being and be heard, if Steve Foukes warrants being Mayor of Wirral, then you should have the guts to say so one way or the other. Demonstrate for once that an elected Councillor actually does have some basic integrity and is capable of being truly honest, not just to him or her self, but to the electorate of Wirral. Speak up or be dammed by your silence for ever. Hugo1008
  • Score: 11

10:11am Sun 1 Jun 14

JohnON says...

"Speak up or be dammed by your silence for ever."

If that were to happen, the best outcome anyone could hope for is 28 to 38 in favour.

38 are too entrenched in their own self-interest and in the dogma of history to be able to think for themselves.
"Speak up or be dammed by your silence for ever." If that were to happen, the best outcome anyone could hope for is 28 to 38 in favour. 38 are too entrenched in their own self-interest and in the dogma of history to be able to think for themselves. JohnON
  • Score: 8

4:08pm Sun 1 Jun 14

Hugo1008 says...

JohnON: I would even appreciate if there were 28 Councillors who would have the backbone to actually speak up, and who knows what a turn up it would be for Democracy, Decency, Integrity, Honesty and Truth if there were a few more than 28 who actually spoke the truth and condemned this dreadul appointment and all the sleaze attached to it.
JohnON: I would even appreciate if there were 28 Councillors who would have the backbone to actually speak up, and who knows what a turn up it would be for Democracy, Decency, Integrity, Honesty and Truth if there were a few more than 28 who actually spoke the truth and condemned this dreadul appointment and all the sleaze attached to it. Hugo1008
  • Score: 6

6:07pm Sun 1 Jun 14

Joeblogg85 says...

My understanding was that The Floral was a "stand alone" self financing venture and if the Council wanted to use it then it had to pay like anyone else. If this is indeed the case, then how much is this costing over and above the cost of holding it in the Town Hall, which would have been free apart from the significant "catering" costs of course!
My understanding was that The Floral was a "stand alone" self financing venture and if the Council wanted to use it then it had to pay like anyone else. If this is indeed the case, then how much is this costing over and above the cost of holding it in the Town Hall, which would have been free apart from the significant "catering" costs of course! Joeblogg85
  • Score: 10

8:41pm Sun 1 Jun 14

Thepleb says...

When the destination excellence(ha ha) meetings were held wirral council got charged for hire and catering , tea and coffee for manual workers and finer delicacies for the elite in another part of the building so what will this shower of **** cost?
As for Foulkseys family's hurt feelings what about the families of ex council workers dumped on the scrapheap during his tender why do we need a mayor when the council are proposing to shut down Lyndale school,scrap school crossing patrols and turn the lights off among other essential services.
When the destination excellence(ha ha) meetings were held wirral council got charged for hire and catering , tea and coffee for manual workers and finer delicacies for the elite in another part of the building so what will this shower of **** cost? As for Foulkseys family's hurt feelings what about the families of ex council workers dumped on the scrapheap during his tender why do we need a mayor when the council are proposing to shut down Lyndale school,scrap school crossing patrols and turn the lights off among other essential services. Thepleb
  • Score: 9

9:19am Mon 2 Jun 14

JohnON says...

"... a man who thinks the entire population is too gullible to see him sniggering behind his hand."

Reminds me of someone; cant' think who :-)

tinyurl.com/lr6e8pt
"... a man who thinks the entire population is too gullible to see him sniggering behind his hand." Reminds me of someone; cant' think who :-) tinyurl.com/lr6e8pt JohnON
  • Score: 6

2:06pm Mon 2 Jun 14

hobroW says...

CONTUMACY, CONTUMACY,CONTUMACY

because they CAN get away with it

Is the answer that no ward with an elector-turnout less than 30% gets a councillor? After all we have had 6 months vacancy in Liscard with Darren Dodd.
CONTUMACY, CONTUMACY,CONTUMACY because they CAN get away with it Is the answer that no ward with an elector-turnout less than 30% gets a councillor? After all we have had 6 months vacancy in Liscard with Darren Dodd. hobroW
  • Score: 4

2:59pm Mon 2 Jun 14

JohnON says...

hobroW wrote:
CONTUMACY, CONTUMACY,CONTUMACY

because they CAN get away with it

Is the answer that no ward with an elector-turnout less than 30% gets a councillor? After all we have had 6 months vacancy in Liscard with Darren Dodd.
I doubt the wards in question would give a monkeys if they have NO Councillors at all.

It would seem that the low turnout wards are quite happy with their lot - otherwise they'd turn out in droves to change the status quo.
[quote][p][bold]hobroW[/bold] wrote: CONTUMACY, CONTUMACY,CONTUMACY because they CAN get away with it Is the answer that no ward with an elector-turnout less than 30% gets a councillor? After all we have had 6 months vacancy in Liscard with Darren Dodd.[/p][/quote]I doubt the wards in question would give a monkeys if they have NO Councillors at all. It would seem that the low turnout wards are quite happy with their lot - otherwise they'd turn out in droves to change the status quo. JohnON
  • Score: 1

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