Joe Anderson: Liverpool mayor steps aside from role following arrest

Deputy to stand in on interim basis until end of year, awaiting police decision on case

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Thursday 10 December 2020 19:10 GMT
Joe Anderson
Joe Anderson (PA)

Joe Anderson has announced he is stepping aside from his role as mayor of Liverpool until police make clear how they intend to proceed in relation to his arrest as part of a Merseyside Police probe into building contracts in the city.

The city leader was arrested on Friday along with four other men on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation. He has been administratively suspended by the Labour Party and remains on police bail.

Mr Anderson said he expected an announcement from police on 31 December and would make a further statement on his intentions then.

The deputy mayor, Wendy Simon, is to step in to act as mayor on an interim basis until that point.

In a statement, Mr Anderson said: “I have always done what I believe is best for the city, and I am taking the following action with those best intentions in mind.

“It is important that everyone in Liverpool knows that our leaders are focussed on what is most important to the people; their livelihoods and, with a pandemic still in force, their lives.

“For this reason, I believe it is important that the city, and government, are reassured that our city is indeed operating in the correct way.

“I am, therefore, stepping away from decision-making within the council through a period of unpaid leave, until the police make clear their intentions with the investigation on 31 December.

“I will make a further statement at that point. Wendy Simon will be acting as mayor and I have all faith that she will provide the leadership our city requires at this time."

Mr Anderson added: “The arrest on Friday has also been a painful shock for me and my family, following a difficult few months. I need to focus on their future and returning to a normal they can recognise, with the reassurance that I am no longer under suspicion.

“Therefore I am going to focus on co-operating with the police in their ongoing inquiry, as I believe time will make it clear that I have no case to answer.

“This situation has not dampened my passion for our city and the inspiring people who live and work here, most particularly the dedicated public servants who work within the council and the cabinet. They will continue their incredible work, as we would expect, against the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in.

“But I am not prepared to contribute my own circumstances to those challenges, so I have reached this decision for that reason alone.

“I am very grateful for the many messages of support I have received and I have faith that, as always, the future of our city is bright and its best days are ahead.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in