English Local elections – Who gained, who lost – Latest news

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Across England the Lib Dems gained the most seats (37) – Lynne Thompson in Southport’s Ainsdale Ward of Sefton Council being one of those 37 net gains.

But look at the ‘Residents’ tag, it’s plus 4 and 3 of those gains by independent resident groups were from Labour in Sefton Central Constituency. A badge to wear proudly for Pat O’Hanlon, Matt Gannon and Bob McCann. A badge Sefton Central Labour Party will very much not be wearing though as they contributed to Labour’s net loss of 25 seats across England!

You can almost feel the tension rising between Ian Maher’s Bootle brethren and Bill Esterson’s comrades in Sefton Central. You can bet Bootle Labour, who rule the roost, will be highly unimpressed with their ‘colleagues’ losing seats to independents in Sefton Central.

Will update when final figures in.

Sefton Council – Response to Leader’s endorsement of the Merseyside devolution of powers deal

The Champion newspaper in its edition of 25th November carried an article where the present Leader of Sefton Council endorsed what I call Merseyside’s 3rd rate devolution deal. Here is my response to Cllr. Ian Maher……

Devolution powers so poor they are not worth having

Reacting to the Labour Leader of Sefton Council Cllr. Ian Mayer’s endorsement of the devolution deal for Merseyside the Borough’s former Lib Dem Council Leader Tony Robertson says the devolution deal for the Liverpool City Region/Merseyside is rubbish.

Tony, a long-time campaigner for devolution of powers from Government to the diverse communities of Sefton and Merseyside says the deal that Sefton Council voted for is poor and he sees nothing in it for Sefton or the Boroughs surrounding Liverpool.

“We get a Metro Mayor imposed on us, whom we will have to pay the wages of, for little or nothing in return that will be of any use to us.”

“We Lib Dems passionately believe in devolution of government powers to the lowest possible level of governance commensurate with the effective delivery of services for our diverse communities. However, that does not mean we will accept 3rd rate devolution – no control over the Police or the NHS like in Manchester comes to mind. But holding a gun to our head and being told you can only have your 3rd rate devolution powers if you accept a Metro Mayor to lord it over you is utterly ridiculous. We will not even get a referendum on these issues.”

“This is not devolution it is imposition and there’s nothing good going to come from this for the people of Sefton my view. I was delighted that the Lib Dem opposition Group on Sefton Council stood their ground and opposed this poor deal for the diverse communities of Sefton”


Editors Note – Tony was Leader of Sefton Council from 2004 until 2011

At the time of posting this article the Champion had not printed my opposing view.

Sefton Local Plan – Residents take on Council spin

A commentary on Sefton Council’s bizarre Local Plan process from Malcolm and Joan Gore of Maghull:-

I read with interest this weeks article [Champion newspaper of 22nd July] on the Local Plan and Councillor Maher’s [Council Leader] comments but feel there should be a few points of clarification.

Firstly the new figures are from the D.C.L.G. a government department and would be the same irrespective of which party is in power.

Secondly, what the Council decided was to submit the plan as it stands but to immediately review it in light of the new statistics. To this end they are providing the inspector with details of sites, previously rejected and some new ones, that developers have applied for since the plan was passed.

They promise to consult with neighbouring authorities, hoping that they will increase their housing provision but as they all have already had their Local Plans passed, this is a bit of a “red herring”. In fact if Sefton had produced a plan quicker, we would not be in this predicament.

This means that if the plan for 615 houses is adopted the Council can then review it and build even more houses, wherever they want, without consultation, with Lydiate and Maghull Green Belt taking an even bigger hit.

The 615 figure has always been vigorously contested by everyone, so now the figures are approaching the ridiculous. The council should be disputing these household projection figures, which has seen Sefton’s rise from one of the lowest in the country to one of the highest in the space of a few years but why would they when originally back in 2013, the third draft plan option was to build even more houses on more greenbelt land.

Malcolm and Joan Gore

Maghull residents.

Sefton Council – New Leader but same old Bootle Bucks dominance


So Sefton has a new Leader (Cllr. Ian Maher) and surprise, surprise it’s another Labour Councillor from Bootle and his Deputy will be, yes you have guessed it, another Labour Councillor from Bootle (Cllr. John Fairclough).

The Bootle Labour Party has dominated Sefton politics for some years now with Bill Esterson’s Sefton Central Labour tribe being kept firmly away from power even though they are the voting fodder that enables the Bootle Labour Bucks to dominate us all in the Borough.

Peter Dowd was a Leader of some ability and I say that as someone who opposed him over many things in my time on Sefton Council. Peter was was a quick thinker on his feet and his speeches were usually of high quality whether you agreed with him or not. What I can’t see here is a Labour and indeed Council leadership that can match Peter Dowd’s skills. Is that why Peter is staying on as a councillor despite having just been elected MP for Bootle?