Liverpool City Council
Lord Mayor of Liverpool
Cllr Christine Banks, Labour
since 23 May 2018
Mayor of Liverpool
since 13 July 2018
|Liverpool City Region Combined Authority|
Length of term
|2 May 2019|
|7 May 2020|
|Liverpool Town Hall|
Liverpool has been a town since 1207, when it was granted its first charter by King John. It has had a town corporation (the Corporation of Liverpool) since before the 19th century, and this was one of the corporations reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. The corporation created a police force in 1836.
Liverpool was granted city status in 1880. When local government was reformed in 1888 under the Local Government Act 1888 it was one of the cities to become a county borough, and thus independent of Lancashire. This situation persisted until 1974 with the Local Government Act 1972, when due to urban expansion and the accretion of a large metropolitan area, the city was made a metropolitan district of the metropolitan county of Merseyside. This saw the old corporation nomenclature abolished and the council reconstituted as Liverpool City Council.
In 1835 Liverpool expanded into the village of Everton and then the township of Kirkdale in the 1860s. In 1895 Wavertree, Walton and parts of Toxteth and West Derby were incorporated into the city. Fazakerley (1904) and Gateacre (1913) followed, then the rest of West Derby known as West Derby Rural in 1928 and finally Speke in 1932.
In 1986 the council of Merseyside was abolished and its functions devolved to its districts, but the county still legally exists. Liverpool has never been a district council under Lancashire County Council.
In the late 1970s the City was run by the Liberal Party under Sir Trevor Jones. As part of their plans, a cost-cutting exercise was drawn up, to reduce the council's costs by 25%. In 1979 the Conservative Party won the General Election. The new government intended to cut council spending but Liverpool City Council successfully negotiated an exception from this, on the grounds that they were already following government policy and cutting 25%.
During the 1980s, the Trotskyist Militant group gained control of Liverpool's Labour Party and the council, and attempted to challenge the national government on several issues including refusing to set a budget in 1985. The council then adopted a 'deficit budget' in which spending exceeded income, causing a financial crisis. The leadership of the Labour Party was drawn into the controversy, culminating with Neil Kinnock's speech to the Party Conference in 1985, denouncing Liverpool City Council without explicitly naming it. Derek Hatton, councillor for Netherley ward and Deputy Leader of the Council, shouted "lies" at the platform, and Eric Heffer, MP for Liverpool Walton constituency, left the conference platform.
The Labour Party ultimately succeeded in expelling members of Militant, and Hatton himself was expelled from the Labour Party in June 1986.
The Chief Executive, Ged Fitzgerald, was arrested in May 2017 on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and witness intimidation related to investigations into One Connect, an organisation he helped to set up when he worked for Lancashire County Council which is similar to Liverpool Direct, a partnership between the council and BT Group. Mr Fitzgerald resigned from his role in May 2018.
In August 2018 a case file of evidence gathered on Mr Fitzgerald and two other ex-council executives was handed to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The Lord Mayor of Liverpool is the first citizen and chosen representative of the city, acting as a focal point for the community as well as promoting the city. The Lord Mayor's main responsibilities includes meeting delegates from twinned cities, chairing council meetings and representing the city. The Lord Mayor of Liverpool is always a serving councillor, elected by the full council at its Annual General Meeting held each May, and serve for a term of one year: the current Lord Mayor is Councillor Christine Banks.
For list of past Lord Mayors of the city see Lord Mayors of Liverpool.
Between 1953-1973 the wards of Liverpool City Council were Abercromby, Aighburth, Allerton, Anfield, Arundel, Breckfield, Broadgreen, Central, Childwall, Church, Clubmoor, County, Croxteth, Dingle, Dovecot, Everton, Fairfield, Fazakerley, Gillmoss, Granby, Kensington, Low Hill, Melrose, Netherfield, Old Swan, Picton, Pirrie, Princess Park, St Domingo, St James, St Mary's, St Michaels, Smithdown, Speke, Sandhills, Tuebrook, Vauxhall, Warbreck, Westminster, Woolton. Each ward returned 3 councillors and was represented by an Alderman, bringing to the total number of representatives on the City Council to 120.
In 1973, the whole council was reconstituted and the number of wards was reduced to 33. Each ward elected three councillors, and the aldermanic system was abolished.
Elections are usually by thirds, in three of every four years. 2004 saw new boundaries and a reduction in the number of councillors from 99 to 90, so all seats were contested.
In March 2007, Labour gained a seat from the Liberal Democrats in a by-election in Speke Garston ward. In the May 2007 council elections, the Liberal Democrats lost 4 seats to Labour, leaving the council make-up as Liberal Democrats 51, Labour 35, Liberals 3 and Greens 1.
Labour then won a second by-election in Warbreck ward in September 2007.
At the May 2012 elections, Labour won 27 seats and the Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Liberals 1 each. This made the composition of the Council 72 Labour (after one Councillor became an independent), 9 Liberal Democrat (after a defection to the Labour party), 3 Liberal, 2 green and 2 independents.
In the May 2014 elections, the Labour party won 27 seats, the Green party won 2 seats, and the Liberal party won 1 seat. This made the composition of the Council for 2014/15: 78 Labour, 4 Green, 3 Liberal Democrat, 3 Liberal, and 2 independent.
In the 19th and early 20th Century the council was run by the Conservatives, whose policies were responsible for Liverpool leading the way in many areas of social reform, for example the provision of the first council-housing in Europe. Liverpool was one of the last cities in the UK in which the Labour Party gained control, which occurred in 1955. The Conservatives were able to briefly regain control in 1961, until 1963, and again in 1967 until 1972.
|Harold Macdonald Steward||1967-1972||Conservative|
|Cyril Carr||1974-1975||No Overall Control|
|Eddie Roderick||1978 (May-June)|
|Trevor Jones||1987 (March-May)||Liberal|
|Harry Rimmer||1987 (May-October)||Labour|
|1992-1996||No Overall Control|
|Mike Storey||1998-2005||Liberal Democrats|