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'Pact to stop the BNP'

After a year off, it's time for those exciting council elections again. Larry Neild on who is fighting who, where and why

Published on April 19th 2010.

'Pact to stop the BNP'

In what is described as a “thoughtful move” to ensure the BNP does not get a foothold on Liverpool City Council, the (just about) ruling Lib Dems have reached a pact with the minority Liberals.

The result is in a number of wards the two parties will not oppose each other in the local elections, taking place on May 6 – same day as the General Election.

Political cynics may ponder it is more to do with a deal being struck to enhance the chances of the Lib Dems, headed by Warren Bradley, staying in the driving seat at the Town Hall.

The Liberals, headed by Liberal Leader and Parliamentary candidate Steve Radford, are not fielding any candidates in Allerton, County, and Woolton.

Joe Anderson (Right)

In turn the Lib Dems are not standing in Everton, Tuebrook and Kirkdale.

In the last municipal elections in 2008 both parties fielded runners in all six of those wards.

As in 2008, the Lib Dems are not facing Liberal opposition in Belle Vale and St Michael's, while the Liberals are clear of Lib Dem opposition in Norris Green and Clubmoor.

The BNP is standing in eight council wards – Anfield, Clubmoor, County, Everton, Fazakerley, Kirkdale, Norris Green and Old Swan. Interestingly the “deal” between the Lib Dems and the Liberals does not extend to Anfield, Fazakerley and Old Swan: there all three are fielding candidates.

The Wards

So why has the Liberal Party stood aside in Allerton and Woolton where there’s not a hint of a BNP snipe?

Could it be because the Conservatives are regaining a foothold in the leafy south Liverpool suburbs? Indeed, blue rosette wearers are convinced they stand their strongest chance this century of winning a council seat in Woolton.

Although last time the Liberals only picked up a few dozen votes in Woolton, it could well be a case of every vote counting for Warren’s ruling army.

Warren Bradley

And while the pact will help keep away the BNP from Liverpool’s mainstream politics, it’s not going to do any harm to Bradley's chances of holding on.

Labour, the Conservatives and the Greens are contesting all 30 council seats, the Lib Dems are going for 25 and Liberals for 24. There will be eight BNP candidates and another four from independents or Socialist parties.

This is the current make-up of the city council: Lib Dems 46, Labour 39, Liberals three, Green Party two.

In the last council elections in 2008 Labour picked up an extra three and the year before an extra four.

This year The Lib Dems are defending 18 seats. If Labour pick up three of the Lib Dem seats it will take them to 42 and the Lib Dems down to 43. The Green Party is hoping to win the third of the three St Michael’s seats and that would make Labour and the Lib Dems neck and neck. The Green Party and the Liberals would have three each which could well explain the accommodation between the Lib Dems and the Liberals.

Of course, if Labour pick up more than three extra seats we’ll see Joe Anderson crowned as new council leader on May 7, ironically, possibly, as Gordon Brown is handing over the keys to No 10.

Steve Radford

After the 2008 elections, the official results declared Liverpool as a hung council, but in a stroke of political magic, Bradley arrived as the count ended with his newest councillor, Nadia Stewart. Nadia, granddaughter of former councillor and Labour MEP Ken Stewart had fallen out with Labour to become an independent. By joining Warren on that amazing election night the balance of power swung just enough to restore the Lib Dems as the ruling party.

To add to the mix this year, the new Lord Mayor will be Liberal Hazel Williams. Traditionally the Lord Mayor becomes apolitical for the year of office, essentially reducing the Liberal group to 2. If John Coyne wins that extra seat in St Michael’s, it will make the Green Party the real power brokers in Liverpool.

And we can all celebrate with the biggest tree planting scheme we’ve ever seen.

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