The government is considering taking control of Liverpool City Council in the wake of corruption allegations and the arrest of mayor Joe Anderson, Sky News understands.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed he has received a report from local government inspectors investigating financial irregularities in the awarding of building contracts in the city.
According to the Telegraph, it is “likely” that Mr Jenrick will order commissioners to take over day-to-day operations in Liverpool because of a “damning indictment” of the council.
Local government inspector Max Caller was appointed by Mr Jenrick to lead the investigation.
He has reportedly already briefed MPs in the area about the findings which will be published this week
Mr Anderson remains on police bail following his arrest in December last year on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation.
The 63-year-old has insisted that the allegations are baseless and said he is suing Merseyside Police for wrongful arrest.
Deputy mayor Wendy Simon has taken over the role of Liverpool mayor on an interim basis while the investigation continues.
Commenting on the reported takeover, Liverpool Echo political editor Liam Thorp said: “We have seen it in places like Tower Hamlets and Northamptonshire – we have not seen it on this scale.
“Liverpool is one of the core cities in the country. It is a massive city. It is a massive Labour city at the moment, which is an interesting political factor.”
Likening it to Mr Jenrick pressing “the nuclear button”, he said such “a full-blown takeover which would be pretty unprecedented in this scale.”
He added: “That is what people are probably most angry about. The council has allowed a situation where this Conservative Government has ben given the excuse to come and takeover a city like Liverpool.”
(c) Sky News 2021: Government ‘poised to take over city of Liverpool’ after corruption claims