Boris Johnson’s Government is expected to take over the running of Liverpool in the wake of corruption allegations and the arrest of Mayor Joe Anderson, it is reported.
It is said local government secretary Robert Jenrick this week could make the unprecedented decision to intervene and run one of Britain’s biggest cities.
The day-to-day operations of Liverpool’s council could be run by commissioners for several years, following an investigation launched in December and overseen by local government inspector Max Caller.
Mr Caller’s final report includes a “damning indictment of the council”, and it has been submitted to Mr Jenrick, along with a list of recommendations, the Telegraph reported.
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Mr Caller has briefed local MPs about the findings of his probe, which will be made public this week.
It is likely that Mr Jenrick will order commissioners into Liverpool, the report added.
Local government elections are due to take place in May.
Councillors will still be elected in Liverpool but could cede executive powers to commissioners, it was reported.
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The Government’s investigation focused on property management, regeneration, highways, contracts and planning at the council over the past five years, it was reported.
Auditors have not signed off on Liverpool’s accounts for five years due to the ongoing police inquiry into “financial irregularities”.
Mr Caller’s probe was launched following the arrest of the left-wing mayor Mr Anderson in December last year.
The 63-year-old was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation.
Mr Anderson, who was released on bail, has denied any wrongdoing.
Last week, he told the Telegraph: “I have never taken a bribe in my life.”
He said his arrest had derailed his political career.
He added: “Police knocked on the door at five past seven. There were 20 officers. They stormed into the house and I was taken into the police station in a T-shirt and trackie bottoms.”
The decision to send in commissioners to run a city as large as Liverpool would be unprecedented in the UK.
The scenario has happened only three times in the last quarter century.
Mr Caller was the commissioner when the Government intervened in Tower Hamlets, east London, in 2014.
The other two councils to be taken over by commissioners were Rotherham in 2015 and Northampton in 2018.