After the dust has settled on one of the most controversial and dramatic election campaigns in history, politics is getting back to business again, with a change of regime both locally and nationally.
The confirmation of the historic Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition at Westminster came amidst the new opposition Labour party strengthening its control in Liverpool.
While the new Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg negotiated their way to the coalition government, the first in the UK since World War II, their two parties fared badly in Liverpool.
Historically, the Conservatives have not done well in city over the past 30 years but the Liberal Democrats lost control of the city council after 12 years in charge.
They also failed to capture their number one target seat in the North West, Wavertree, where candidate Colin Eldridge was soundly beaten by Labour’s Luciana Berger.
Labour won all five parliamentary seats in the city and will rule the
city council after winning 48 seats. The new council leader Joe
Anderson, who replaces Warren Bradley, has already promised to
alter the city’s housing policy ordering a review of the council’s
flagship Housing Market Renewal Initiative (HMRI)
This is the first in a number of changes that Anderson and the
Labour council are planning. He told the Liverpool Echo: "I am
hugely proud that we have been given the opportunity to lead
this city. But we think the culture of the way this council operates
needs to change.”
It is unclear how the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition’s proposed
£6billion cuts in public spending to combat the country’s deficit
will affect Liverpool and the wider Merseyside area.
The new government is due to hold an emergency budget on June 22
and Anderson acknowledges that tough times lie ahead.
He added: “We have got to recognise there are huge financial
challenges and some difficult decisions to be made. I will not shirk
from making those decisions.”
Labour’s strengthening of their position in Liverpool goes against the national trend. The former government lost 91 seats, whilst the Conservatives gained 97 and the Liberal Democrats lost five.
However, the Conservative party's failure to make any gains in Liverpool is no major surprise given the negative view that many in the city hold of the Tories dating back to when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister in the 1980s.
There has been no Conservative MP in the city since 1983, with much of the animosity towards the party stemming from their perceived lack of care for the city's economic decline in the 80s.
This led to the Militant faction of Liverpool’s Labour council of the time directly challenging the policies of the Conservative central government.
Historic coalition as Liverpool goes Labour
By Hugh O'Connell, Website Producer
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New Liverpool City Council leader, Joe Anderson; David Cameron takes up office as he meets the Queen
Councillor Warren Bradley saw his grip on Liverpool City Council slip