Old political chums band together on Sefton Council to block ‘Peoples Vote’ on Brexit

Anger over Sefton Labour’s rejection of ‘People’s Vote’

The decision of the controlling Labour Group to block a request for a People’s Vote over Brexit left campaigners dismayed when they attended Thursday night’s Sefton Council meeting held at Southport Town Hall.

Seaforth resident and NHS worker Carla Burns addressed the Council meeting in support of a petition, signed by over 600 people. In it she called for Sefton Council to support a People’s Vote on the final Brexit Deal which includes an option to remain in the EU.

Lib Dem councillor Daniel Lewis, supported by his Lib Dem colleagues, proposed that the Council should support the terms of the petition. However, every single member of the controlling Labour Group, together with the Conservatives, voted this down.

Following the meeting Carla Burns expressed her anger, tweeting: “I want politicians who will put country before party – I will not vote Labour whilst they facilitate Brexit.”

With thanks to Cllr. Simon Shaw for the lead to this posting

Birkdale – It’s tramway into Southport – An historic photo

Whilst at the Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day on 9th July I came across and purchased this photo of a horse drawn tram in Birkdale:-

Is this shot taken on Cemetery Road, Southport? Can it be dated by anyone?

Click on the scanned photo to enlarge it

The photo is also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Here are links to my previous postings about Southport’s long-gone trams:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/01/12/southports-tramways/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/02/24/more-on-southports-trams-with-a-wallasey-twist/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/05/14/sefton-the-only-tramway-in-the-borough-southport-pier-tram/

Sadly since my May 2014 posting about Southport’s Pier Tram it has also ceased to run and been disposed of. I understand this was said to be the result of it being too heavy for the aging pier.

BTW – Are the 3 chaps in the photo my old friends and Birkdale Ward Councillors, Richard Hands, Simon Shaw and Iain Brodie Brown?:-)))

Elected Mayor of Liverpool – More on those payments for no work

birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/the-disgraceful-saga-that-saw-liverpool.html

birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/sefton-labour-leader-blockslib-dem-bid.html

For those who would like to see more detail about this matter than the Liverpool Echo has published so far, a visit to Iain Brodie Browne’s Birkdale Focus web site is worth a bit of your time. Use the two links above to gain more detail:-

The situation seems to be one of Sefton Council Officers agreeing to the deal but then soon after the School in question, Chesterfield High, converted itself into an Academy and they found the deal unacceptable so terminated it.

There are clearly some big issues here about the use of public money, why the deal was signed off by Council Officers in the first place and whether any of the money can or should be claimed back by the School.

But the bottom line is why on earth did anyone think that spending public money like this was going to be seen to be acceptable to the public?

A subject that a determined local investigative journalist could do with getting to the bottom off and in doing so turn Sefton Council inside out.

Police Stations in Sefton & the Maghull Morrisons Link?

Readers will recall that I have been pressing Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy over the future of Maghull Police Station. My posting of 8th August 2013 refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/08/08/sefton-borough-are-our-local-police-stations-being-considered-for-closure/

Well things have moved on but there remains a distinct lack of clarity in my view. I attended a recent briefing given by the Commissioner about the emerging estates strategy of Merseyside Police but did not gain much in the way of useful information.

Here I am at Maghull Police Station where the Neighbourhood Policing Team must have had a tough time during Mad March.

Here I am at Maghull Police Station where the Neighbourhood Policing Team operates from.

On one level the need to retain a policing base in all the 5 recognised ‘hubs’ of Sefton seems to be there i.e. Southport, Formby, Maghull, Crosby and Bootle. But how they will provided this is presently very vague. I can see former shop units becoming a police bases, or community centres, or libraries, because clearly disposal of a number of current police stations is very much on the cards.

That the Police have very limited resources is a given so you can understand why they want to dispose of some old, expensive to run and operationally redundant property so that the money can be reinvested in front line policing. But we will all want to know how this is going to be achieved in detail.

It will be no use saying for example that police station ‘A’ is to close without also saying how the service to the the community, where that police station is based, will be continued/re-provided from new/alternative premises. At present I think it is fair to say that the Merseyside Police estate strategy is at a very high level and because of that many, many questions remain to be answered. Frankly, I would have thought it better to show a community the whole picture of change for consultation rather than what seems to be no more than half of it.

And I am not alone in my concerns as Cllr. Simon Shaw, a Lib Dem member of the Committee which oversees the activities of the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, says this:-

*****

A £130m plan to overhaul police stations across Merseyside could see some bases moving into community centres and libraries. ……

Councillor Simon Shaw, who sits on the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel, criticised the plans for a “lack of clarity”.

Cllr. Simon Shaw outside Southport Police Station

Cllr. Simon Shaw outside Southport Police Station

The Liberal Democrat said: “They talk about things like ‘neighbourhood patrol hubs’, but what exactly does that mean in real life? Will these community stations be open all the time, or only for five hours per week? We don’t know precisely what is being proposed.

“If it’s a different way of using police buildings then I have no problem with that. If cuts are not made in this area then do they cut them in schools, or elsewhere in the public sector?

“But I think there is a lack of clarity for something really important here.”

*****

More news as I get it but does the Maghull Morrisons Store issue that I raised on this blog site last Sunday fit in with this? Maghull Police Station is one that is clearly now underused and is down for disposal and it is right next door to Morrisons!

MERSEYSIDE POLICE COMMISSIONER JANE KENNEDY COMES UNDER ATTACK FOR “CRONYISM”

I covered this matter yesterday but more has now emerged about the detail.

Labour’s local Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, has come under attack from the cross-party Merseyside Police Panel which oversees her, for her recent controversial decision to appoint a Labour Liverpool councillor as her Deputy – a part-time position for which the annual full time equivalent rate of pay is £53,000 per year.

Meeting just over a week ago, the Police Panel grilled Commissioner Jane Kennedy and her nominee, Labour councillor Ann O’Byrne about the proposed appointment. Councillors expressed worries that the move smacked of the very “cronyism” highlighted by Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee in a report published earlier in May.

In their report about the proposed appointment the Panel voiced their concerns about the whole recruitment process, stating that “The panel felt it was in the public interest for a new appointment process to be carried out . . . particularly as this position would be remunerated from the public purse.”

Birkdale (Sefton) Lib Dem councillor Simon Shaw is a member of the Merseyside Police Panel and was among those who raised concerns with both Jane Kennedy and Cllr O’Byrne. He said he was appalled at some of the responses given to the Panel:

Cllr Simon Shaw outside Southport Police Station

“In particular, Jane Kennedy quite openly stated in public session that membership of the Labour Party was a key requirement of the position. If that isn’t cronyism, I don’t know what is.”

“I also asked both of them for an assurance that Cllr Ann O’Byrne would be standing down from her current, well-remunerated positions as Assistant Executive Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing on Liverpool City Council. They both refused to give that assurance.”

“In my view the detailed questioning revealed that Mrs Kennedy had simply not thought this through. The post was unadvertised; there was no proper open recruitment process; there is no clarity as to how Cllr O’Byrne can actually “deputise” and there is no financial provision for the post, even though the Police Commissioner agreed her Budget just 3 months ago.”

“That’s why the Panel effectively said ‘Go back to the drawing board”!” added Cllr Shaw.

However, in a snub to the Panel, Jane Kennedy has now appointed Cllr O’Byrne with immediate effect to the 3 day a week position. Pay for the post is £31,800 pa which equates to a full time equivalent salary of £53,000 a year. Taking account of her allowances as a councillor, Cabinet Member and Assistant Executive Mayor on Liverpool City Council, the Labour politician’s total pay from public funds now amounts to £56,000 a year.

£700,000 to pay off Merseyside Police & Crime Commissoner staff!

I have been looking at the accounts for Jane Kennedy, Merseyside’s Policing and Crime Commissioner for 2012/13 and was staggered to read that £697,211 had been spent during that accounting year on paying people off.

This a huge sum and it makes you wonder just what better use this money could have been put to. Surely using the money to support policing across Merseyside would be a much more positive use of £700,000.

The Liverpool Echo picked it up on this as well I note and it says:-

Row over £700,000 Mersey Police Authority compensation pay-outs

More than £400,000 was given out in redundancy payments to two top executives as part of a shake-up of the police authority by Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy.

The pair, who were awarded £282,000 in “compensation for loss of office”, received in total more than £400,000 between them in “exit packages” shortly after Mrs Kennedy’s election in November last year.

While the former Wavertree MP said streamlining her office staff would mean cost savings in the future, critics questioned the pay-outs, which saw more than £700,000 paid out to the 12 officers who left between November 2012 and March this year.

Around half of the Police Authority staff were made redundant as part of cost-cutting measures, when the body was replaced with the Office of the Police Commissioner.

But Cllr Simon Shaw, who represents the Birkdale Ward and is a member of the Panel, questioned the amounts paid out. He said: “I am absolutely appalled that the Police Commissioner has spent nearly £700,000 in just four months on pay-offs to staff in her office.”

“It’s not quite at BBC levels, but I do feel it is a shocking use of public funds on the part of Jane Kennedy.”