The future of the newly-created Merseyside super-council was thrown into jeopardy last night after Liverpool’s mayor threatened to quit the body in a row over its leadership.
Joe Anderson said he is seeking legal advice about whether the city can withdraw from the combined authority claiming he was vetoed from becoming its chairman.
He claimed the other Merseyside council leaders - including St Helens’ Barrie Grunewald - gathered before he arrived at a meeting to appoint Wirral’s Phil Davies and exclude him from the process.
In an email to fellow Liverpool councillors he complained other council bosses had “disrespected” him because he was “too big a personality”.
He wrote: “I think the clear message that was sent out this morning (and the behaviour of leaders) was not one I would have hoped for.
“This is such a missed opportunity instead of thinking and behaving like leaders of a big global city the city region leaders have engaged in a dysfunctional debate akin to toy town level politics and ambitions.
“I am considering options at the moment and seeking legal advice and will discuss this further at full council in two weeks, however my own view is I can’t sign up to something which disadvantages our city. If you have any views I am happy to receive them.”
Coun Anderson admitted he was late for the meeting at which the vote was due to take place although it is unclear why he failed to turn up on time. In his absence, the remaining council leaders went ahead with the vote.
Meanwhile, at the same meeting, Coun Grunewald put forward a motion to change the super-council’s name to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
Currently, its official title, dictated to the organisation by Whitehall chiefs, is the tongue-twisting Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral Combined Authority..