Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson says he will step down after bribery and witness intimidation arrest

Published: 10 December 2020

Post Desk : The mayor of Liverpool has announced he will step down after he was arrested on suspicion of witness intimidation and bribery.

Joe Anderson, 62, said in a statement he would “step away from decision-making within the council through a period of unpaid leave”.

This is until “the police make clear their inquiries with the investigation”, he added.

Mr Anderson was arrested on 4 December alongside four other men as part of an investigation into planning developments in the city.

All five have been released pending further inquiries, with Mr Anderson saying he wants to “focus on co-operating with the police” as he believes “time will make clear I have no case to answer”.

His statement continued: “I have always done what I believe is best for the city, and I am taking the following action with those best intentions in mind.

“It is important that everyone in Liverpool knows that our leaders are focused on what is most important to the people; their livelihoods and, with a pandemic still in force, their lives.

“For this reason, I believe it is important that the city, and government, are reassured that our city is indeed operating in the correct way.

“I am, therefore, stepping away from decision-making within the council through a period of unpaid leave, until the police make clear their intentions with the investigation on the 31 December.”

Deputy mayor Wendy Simon will replace him, he added.

Mr Anderson described his arrest as a “painful shock for me and my family, following a difficult few months”.

The directly-elected mayor had already been temporarily suspended from the Labour Party.

He said he would ensure the city’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic is consistent in his absence after it successfully managed to move down from Tier 3 to Tier 2 last month.

It was the first part of England to be placed under the toughest COVID-19 restrictions, but after getting infection rates down, is now being used as a trial location for mass testing.

Mr Anderson’s brother Bill died of the virus aged 70 in October.