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What did Liverpool councillors say about death and 2 cars at an incredible public meeting?

                                       

Cllr Frank Prendergast MBE calls another Liverpool City Council councillor a “slimeball”

Cllr Frank Prendergast MBE calls another Liverpool City Council councillor a “slimeball”

The annual budget meeting of Liverpool City Council is known for those who go for producing political fireworks (for example two years ago when a councillor passionately argued against a cut to domestic violence charities and was asked to leave the Council Chamber).

Local politics (especially party politics) can become ideological at times rather than based in reality (realpolitik).

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Labour trigger byelection in Claughton following death of Cllr Denise Roberts

                             

Councillor Denise Roberts (Chair, Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee at Wirral Council) 6th July 2016

Councillor Denise Roberts (Chair, Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee at Wirral Council) 6th July 2016 and former councillor for Claughton

Whilst the rest of the media reports on Cannes, an election of a councillor to Wirral Council in Claughton ward has been started by George Davies and Ann McLaughlan.

Copies of the text of the public notices are below. The poll will take place on Thursday 4th May 2017 (combined with the Metro Mayor election).

When the list of candidates becomes available I will be publishing this too.


METROPOLITAN BOROUGH OF WIRRAL
CASUAL VACANCY
IN THE OFFICE OF COUNCILLOR

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN under Section 87(2) of the Local
Government Act 1972 that a casual vacancy exists in the office of Borough Councillor for the CLAUGHTON WARD of the Borough of Wirral.

Eric Robinson
Chief Executive and Returning Officer
13th March 2017


CASUAL VACANCY IN THE OFFICE OF COUNCILLOR
FOR THE
Claughton Ward

I confirm that, under Section 87(2) of the Local Government Act 1972, I have received notice in writing requesting an election to be held in the above ward.

The notice contains the names of two local government electors for the area and they are:

George Davies and Ann McLaughlan

The election shall be held within 35 days of this notice and the poll shall take place on Thursday, 4th May 2017.

Eric Robinson
Chief Executive and Returning Officer
13th March 2017

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Merseytravel blamed by Merseyrail as cause of 1 day strike tomorrow by RMT over axing guards from trains

                             

Merseytravel Committee (Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) meeting 25th June 2015 Middle Row L to R Cllr Jerry Williams, Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr Malcolm Sharp, Cllr Terry Shields

Merseytravel Committee (Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) meeting 25th June 2015 Middle Row L to R Cllr Jerry Williams, Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr Malcolm Sharp, Cllr Terry Shields

UPDATED 12.37 13.3.17: Merseyrail have suspended all trains until at least 2pm as drivers (presumably not part of the RMT union) refuse to cross picket lines, so trains are not running at all on the Merseyrail network at this point in time.

It was like the Wild West out there at the train station.

And who should I spy scurrying away, why a blast from the past Steve Maddox (with his wife)!

Those who remember will know that Steve Maddox was once clerk to Merseytravel (in the days it met at Hatton Garden).

So in a way I think the universe is gently nudging me to write this story!

In train related news, the workers are getting cross at the local politicians’ plan to axe the guards when new trains are introduced .

Decided in a behind closed doors extraordinary meeting last year, councillors (including Cllr Steve Foulkes (Labour), Cllr Jerry Williams (Labour) and Cllr Les Rowlands (Conservative)) agreed to new trains that only need drivers and not guards.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has called a strike for tomorrow (Monday 13th March 2017).

The strike will lead to disruption of timetabled services.

Merseyrail (their employer) objected to the High Court on the basis that RMT’s dispute was with Merseytravel not with Merseyrail, however this call for an injunction was rejected by the judiciary.

RMT is also striking on Northern Rail services too on the same day.

On the Merseyrail network (in addition to the planned engineering works that mean Liverpool Lime Street (Wirral Line), Moorfields (Wirral Line) and Liverpool Central (Wirral Line) will be closed), during the day of the strike action tomorrow Merseyrail plan to run trains only from 7am to 7pm with a half hourly service.

Services from Liverpool Lime Street (which was only recently reopened) travelling with Northern Rail to Manchester Victoria and Wigan North Western services will also be disrupted.

Northern Rail has a page on their website outlining the changes to timetables and so does Merseyrail.

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Why did Wirral Council councillors vote for a just over 4.5% council tax rise?

                               

Wirral Council (Budget) 6th March 2017 Part 1 of 5

Wirral Council (Budget) 6th March 2017 Part 2 of 5

Wirral Council (Budget) 6th March 2017 Part 3 of 5

Wirral Council (Budget) 6th March 2017 Part 4 of 5

Wirral Council (Budget) 6th March 2017 Part 4 of 5

Cllr Phil Gilchrist (right) (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group of councillors on Wirral Council) speaking at the Budget meeting of Wirral Council (6th March 2017)

Cllr Phil Gilchrist (right) (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group of councillors on Wirral Council) speaking at the Budget meeting of Wirral Council (6th March 2017)

It’s been misreported in the press that both Wirral Council and Liverpool City Council agreed a 4.99% council tax rise.

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Was legal advice given to 9 Wirral Council councillors who abstained on car parking charges vote flawed?

Council (Wirral Council) Extraordinary (Car Parking Charges) 6th March 2017 Part 1 of 2

Council (Wirral Council) Extraordinary (Car Parking Charges) 6th March 2017 Part 2 of 2

Cllr Jeff Green (right) (Leader of the Conservative Group of councillors on Wirral Council) explaining why he is opposed to Labour's plan to increase car parking charges

Cllr Jeff Green (right) (Leader of the Conservative Group of councillors on Wirral Council) explaining why he is opposed to Labour’s plan to increase car parking charges

Wirral Council councillors met on Monday evening, following a request by 21 Conservative councillors for an extraordinary meeting of Wirral Council to call on the ruling Labour administration to withdraw its plans to:

a) increase charges at all existing car parks by 20 pence from next year and

b) introduce car parking charges in Wirral’s parks.

This follows a partial U-turn by the Labour administration on the original proposals, the revised proposals can be read in this Cabinet report.

The decision in that Cabinet report is on hold as the matter has been “called in” by opposition councillors. It will be reconsidered by councillors at a public meeting starting at 3pm of Wirral Council’s Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee which meets at on Monday 13th March 2017 in Committee Room 1 on the ground floor of Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED.

Prior to the Extraordinary meeting, there was a protest outside and the public gallery was full (standing room only) to see what happened.

At the Extraordinary meeting (you can watch the full meeting in the video clips above), in addition to opposition from the Conservative councillors, the Liberal Democrat councillors also expressed their opposition to the car parking charges plans.

However the sole Green Party councillor on Wirral Council, Cllr Pat Cleary, expressed his support for Labour’s proposals as he said that introducing car parking charges at Wirral’s parks would encourage people to walk or cycle to the park instead of taking their cars.

Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer Surjit Tour advised the fifteen councillors (plus those who may attend next Monday evening as deputies) on the Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee to not vote (abstain) on the car parking charges matter.

Interestingly Surjit Tour said the reason for this advice was that in his view voting on the matter would be considered pre-determination and specifically referred to one of the Local Government Acts.

However (what Mr. Tour didn’t mention) that legislation in one of the Local Government Acts that refers to pre-determination was repealed and replaced with new legislation in January 2012. It was replaced with Section 25 (Prior indications of view of a matter not to amount to predetermination etc) of the Localism Act 2011 which is quite clear and I quote from below.

“(2) A decision-maker is not to be taken to have had, or to have appeared to have had, a closed mind when making the decision just because—

(a) the decision-maker had previously done anything that directly or indirectly indicated what view the decision-maker took, or would or might take, in relation to a matter, and
(b) the matter was relevant to the decision.

(3) Subsection (2) applies in relation to a decision-maker only if that decision-maker—
(a) is a member (whether elected or not) of the relevant authority, or
(b) is a co-opted member of that authority.”

At least one councillor at the meeting objected to Mr. Tour’s advice on pre-determination as he felt he was elected to represent the views of residents.

At the end of the meeting there was a vote by councillors.

Twenty-four councillors voted in favour of scrapping the car park charges proposals. Thirty councillors voted against and nine councillors abstained.

The topic will be discussed again at a public meeting starting at 3 pm of Wirral Council’s Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee which meets at on Monday 13th March 2017 in Committee Room 1 on the ground floor of Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED.

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