AN exchange of emails gives an extraordinary insight into the relationship between Wirral Council's leader Phil Davies and his executive policy officer Martin Liptrot.

The messages were obtained through a Freedom of Information request and shine a light on the way in which former Labour Party media manager Mr Liptrot came to be hired by the local authority last September.

Previously Mr Liptrot worked for Labour’s Margaret Greenwood who took the Wirral West seat at the General Election last May defeating incumbent Conservative MP Esther McVey.

His appointment set off a bombshell with Tory councillors insisting that his £45,000 wages - £56,000 with pension contributions - should come out of Labour's own coffers not taxpayers' cash from the public purse.

After being the only person invited to be interviewed for the job, Mr Liptrot's emails show he thought his suggested pay packet was insultingly low.

Seemingly affronted, he fired off a message to the council leader under the subject heading "Chief of Staff."

He wrote: "Apparently I'm supposed to work for 24 quid an hour and hand time sheets to Joe Blott [strategic director].

"Clearly that is both insulting and wildly unrealistic for the scope of the role we are discussing.

"There is no way I'm going to earn even less than I am now.

"We need to work out what we need to agree and you will probably have to just step up and tell everyone what you want doing in the end.

"Let's talk tomorrow."

Councillor Davies soothingly replied: "I understood the salary was to be under £45k to be within the limit of my delegated powers.

"Happy to speak to Tony Williams [HR manager] if necessary."

Conservative group leader Cllr Jeff Green told the Globe: "For an interviewee whose job was to be paid for by the taxpayers to speak to the leader of a council in the way that Mr Liptrot has is quite extraordinary.

"At the time of his appointment I was astounded that council resources were to be used to pay his salary and decided to find out more about how the recruitment process had developed.

"I was also disappointed no council staff member had been given the opportunity to be interviewed or apply for the job.

"I'm frankly appalled by what was in the emails."

He continued: "I will be questioning the council's head of paid service, chief executive Eric Robinson, about how the evidence in these emails squares with Wirral Council's commitment to open and fair recruitment.

"I also will be putting forward a budget resolution at full council on Thursday to delete the post of executive policy officer."

A town hall spokesman said: "The council followed standard process when creating and filling this post and has acted in a transparent nature at all times.

"Individual emails between staff, managers and politicians are sent on a daily basis and it is not appropriate for us to comment on individual cases."

The Globe has attempted to obtain an interview with Cllr Davies but so far he has not returned our calls.

Here’s some of the emails…

From: Davies, Phil

Sent: 21 August 2015, 11:16

To: Martin Liptrot

Subject: Fwd: Executive Support Officer

Just to confirm that the Executive Support Officer role has been loaded on to matrix and is now live for agencies to see. The post will close at 10am on Wednesday 2 September 2015. CV submissions will be sent as soon as possible after close.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

From: Martin Liptrot

Sent: 7 Sep 2015, 18:23

To: Davies, Phil

Subject: Chief of Staff

There seems to be a bit of a problem with the contract - apparently I’m meant to be on an hourly rate of 24 quid with time sheets for Joe Blott.

Clearly that is both insulting and wildly unrealistic for the scope of the role we are discussing.

There is no way I’m going to earn even less than I am on now… We need to work out what we need to agree, and you will probably have to just step up and tell everyone what you want doing in the end…

I don’t have much faith in the system resolving this alone.

Let’s talk tomorrow…


*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

From: Davies, Phil:

Sent: 08 September 2015, 03:47

To: Martin Liptrot

Subject: Re: Chief of Staff

I understand that the salary for the post was 45k in order to stay within the limit of my delegated powers.

Happy to speak to Tony Williams if necessary.


*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Sent from my iphone

Martin Liptrot

09 September, at 23:38

Tony was very helpful and we sorted it out.

See you when I get back.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

From: Davies, Phil

Sent: 09 September 2015, 23:51

To: Martin Liptrot

Subject: Chief of Staff

That's good news.