My Birkdale Ward colleague Simon Shaw has been left “confused” this week after listening to an i-player recording of a recent Radio Merseyside programme.
This was of the Roger Philips Show last Friday. This featured Sefton’s Labour Leader Cllr Peter Dowd who rejoices in the exalted title of "Executive" Deputy Leader of Sefton Council.
To understand Simon’s “confusion” you have to be aware the context which is that Sefton Council’s 10 member, all-Party Cabinet has 4 Lib Dem members, 4 Labour members and 2 Conservative members. Labour are the second largest party, which means that their leader, Cllr Peter Dowd is designated the senior Deputy Leader of the Council.
Anyway, we had a full Council meeting last Thursday, as I reported last week:
The following day, Friday, Peter was interviewed by Lee Bennion, standing in on the Roger Phillips Show. Despite Peter still being designated "Executive" Deputy Leader of Sefton Council these were just two of the exchanges on Radio Merseyside:
1. Interviewer (Lee Bennion): “But do you agree that the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition on Sefton Council has had, sort of, no other choice than go through the cuts that they have decided on?”
Cllr Peter Dowd: “Well, I think, you can go down the path of saying that they don’t have any other choice on the cuts. There’s a difference of opinion on what some of those cuts might be, but the primary issue is that the Government have told Sefton Council that it’s going to get £31 million less next year in grants from the Government in the most poorest areas.”
2. Interviewer (Lee Bennion): “So what can the Council do about it then? Obviously you’re in opposition, I presume you’ve got some different ideas to the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives?”
Cllr Peter Dowd: “Well of course. You go for what you consider to be usual efficiencies in the Council, but usual efficiencies aren’t going to be able to make up that particular balance.
The Council, or the Liberal Democrats and the Tories in this particular case, have decided that they, because of the way that we’ve been forced as a Council to make these cuts, they’ve decided that they are going to go down the path of making redundancies and cutting services drastically.”
So there we have Cllr Peter Dowd standing up on Thursday night a member of Sefton’s all-Party Cabinet; we have Sefton’s website still saying he is Deputy Leader of the Council, but we have him appearing on Radio Merseyside on Friday and giving the impression that there is a Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition on Sefton Council and that Labour are in Opposition.