Will Barrie Grunewald stand as Liverpool region’s mayor?

Council leader 
Barrie Grunewald
Council leader Barrie Grunewald

St Helens Council’s leader Barrie Grunewald will decide this weekend whether to enter the race to become the Liverpool city region’s first-ever mayor.

Coun Grunewald is considering standing against Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson, with whom he has had profound disagreements over the implementation of the Metro mayor.

The Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, who is also expected to stand for the role of mayor of Liverpool city region

The Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, who is also expected to stand for the role of mayor of Liverpool city region

But he would also have to take on a number of other high-profile politicians, including Wavertree MP Luciana Berger and Walton MP Steve Rotheram.

Coun Grunewald lost out to Conor McGinn for the Labour nomination for the St Helens North seat and sees the Liverpool city region mayoral job as the next logical step in his political career.

The Liverpool city region mayoralship is one of the biggest political roles outside of London.

Nominations for the Labour party candidate open on Monday (May 23).

Shadow Mental Health secretary Luciana Berger

Shadow Mental Health secretary Luciana Berger

Coun Grunewald told the Liverpool Echo he had been approached and asked to consider running.

He said: “Of course it is very flattering to have been approached by a number of Labour stakeholders including MPs, trade unions and councillors asking me to enter the race to be the first City Region Mayor.

“This is something I am giving a great deal of thought to and have made no decision as yet - applications open next week and I will use the weekend to speak to close friends and make a decision in due course.

“I think all candidates should welcome a wide and varied field as debate is healthy, each potential candidate brings their own skill set to the role and whoever wins the Labour nomination must focus on ensuring that they do all they can to help build a better Merseyside.”

Coun Grunewald is one of the most formidable politicians on Merseyside and is steeped in Labour Party politics.

He served as an aide to St Helens South MP Shaun Woodward while working his way up the ladder from a ward councillor to become the council’s leader in 2013.

Coun Grunewald has been lukewarm towards the idea of devolved powers to the Liverpool city region, warning against too much power being given to Liverpool at the expense of other areas in Merseyside.

The new job will have power over housing, education, transport and investment.

And he famously had a spate with the Liverpool mayor after starting a crucial vote without Joe Anderson because he was late for the meeting ... then locking the doors preventing the tardy Anderson from entering the meeting room.