Liverpool Mayor, Joanne Anderson, to be replaced as Labour group leader ahead of election

Nominations close for the role on Friday November 18.

Liverpool Council’s Labour group is moving to replace Mayor Joanne Anderson as its leader before her term of office has ended.

The group will elect a new leader in a matter of weeks to lead it into next year’s election. With all-out ballots to be held in less than six months time, the party is to appoint a new chief with Mayor Anderson not standing for re-election. It is thought the new group leader will focus on the impending campaign while the outgoing Mayor focuses on the direction of the city.

It is understood that nominations close for the role on Friday November 18, with hustings events to be held between shortlisted candidates. It is expected that a new group leader could be in place by December 5.

The Mayoral model was formally done away with during a meeting of the full council in July. After being reintroduced under then-leader Joe Anderson in 2012, the position was scrapped following a highly contentious consultation with the city, whereby the adopted leader and cabinet model was the third choice of respondents.

Mayor Joanne Anderson had pledged to hold a city-wide referendum on whether to scrap the mayoralty when she campaigned to replace her namesake last year. However, she and the council chose to instead hold a cheaper public consultation.

Despite the council’s claims over costs, many people were frustrated not to be given a vote on how the city is run going forward. They were even more frustrated by the way the public consultation was carried out and the subsequent actions of the Labour group.

Just 4% of the city’s residents took part in the consultation and of that number, more than 40% said they would prefer to keep the mayoral system. Around 32% opted for the committee system while just 24% went for the leader and cabinet model.

Despite the leader system finishing last of three, the Labour group on the council immediately stated that it intended to support that style of leadership, arguing that the poor response rate of the consultation meant it was not representative.

Ahead of her replacement being selected, Mayor Anderson said being chosen to serve as the city’s first official had been one of the greatest honours of her life.

Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson was elected in May 2020. Photo: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

She said: “In May 2023, Liverpool Council will be moving to a Leader and Cabinet model. As many of our residents will be aware, I will not be standing for re-election.

“As a Labour group we have had discussions about the benefits of bringing in an additional leader now, who can focus on leading the Labour campaign, while I focus on leading the city. My role as Mayor remains unchanged, but this additional leadership will enable me to have a razor-sharp focus on delivering improvements and putting policies in place that truly benefit the people of Liverpool.

“In my remaining term, I will be concentrating on delivering transformations to services in order to set a balanced budget. Being Mayor has been one of the greatest honours of my life and my role and commitment to lead the people of Liverpool remains the same.”