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Tuesday 19 April 2011

The Liberal Liverpool Warren

With local elections just over a fortnight away, there are fears among some Liberal Democrats that the party could face serious losses because of its coalition deal with the Tories. One city where this fear is particularly acute is Liverpool, where Labour took control of the City Council last year, despite losing many Parliamentary seats in the General Election.

In fact, the Lib Dems have not had a happy recent record in Liverpool: back in 2003, they held 63 council seats to Labour’s 31, and were still in majority control in 2008, but the latest local elections saw Labour with 48 seats to the Lib Dems’ 37, a significant decline in only seven years.

Any less than favourable news in the run-up to this year’s local elections was never going to be welcome, so when former council leader Warren Bradley resigned his position as Lib Dem group leader yesterday, campaigners might have been forgiven for wondering if anything else could go wrong.

Bradley, who succeeded Mike Storey as council leader in 2005 following the latter’s breach of the Member’s code of conduct, has been accused of nominating his 18 year old son as a candidate without his knowledge. It’s been alleged that the nomination papers were not signed by Bradley’s son.

After the turmoil of the 80s, and being awarded a single star rating from the Audit Commission as recently as 2008, this is not good news for the city of Liverpool. And it’s potentially very bad for the Lib Dems: a third of council seats are up for grabs on May 5.

[UPDATE: the Lib Dems have suspended Warren Bradley, and there is now the prospect of a police investigation into the affair. His son has said he does not want to stand in the forthcoming local election and that his signature on the nomination form is "a fake". Curiouser and curiouser]

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