Government officials have written to the chief executive of Liverpool City Council demanding updates on its governance after the arrest of the city’s mayor last week.
Mayor Joe Anderson was released on bail pending further police inquiries, after he was arrested on Friday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation. Four others were also arrested on the charges relating to contract letting and property disposals in the regeneration department of the council.
Despite ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), no move has been made as yet towards an intervention.
However, MHCLG official, Catherine Frances, has written to chief executive Tony Reeves asking for details of any planned property deals.
The letter, released by the ministry, also asks for updates on the governance arrangements at the council, particularly in the planning, highways, regeneration and property management departments.
It adds: ‘As the secretary of state said to you when you spoke yesterday, the department stands ready to provide the council with the support it needs to ensure that it is able to support the people and City of Liverpool as effectively as possible at this challenging time.’
Liverpool Liberal Democrat councillor Richard Kemp has called for the mayor to step down while the investigation is ongoing. Deputy mayor Wendy Simon has taken over as acting leader of the council’s Labour group following Mayor Anderson’s suspension by the party, but he remains in post as mayor.
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