Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson released on police bail

5 December 2020, 10:51 | Updated: 5 December 2020, 13:46

Mr Anderson, 62, was taken to a police station for questioning.
Mr Anderson, 62, was taken to a police station for questioning. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has been released on police bail, after being arrested on Friday as part of a building contracts investigation.

The mayor was one of five arrested by detectives investigating allegations of bribery and witness intimidation linked to building contracts in Liverpool.

Mr Anderson, 62, was taken to a police station for questioning.

In a statement, released to the Liverpool Echo, Mr Anderson said: "I was arrested as part of Operation Aloft on Friday 4th December, and interviewed for 6 hours. I co-operated fully with Merseyside Police and will continue to be co-operative in their continuing enquiries.

"I will be talking to my cabinet colleagues over the weekend to ensure the challenges our city faces with the Covid pandemic continue to receive the focus they deserve. I also support the Labour Party’s decision to apply an administrative suspension while this investigation continues.

"I have been bailed to return in one month’s time. Given the investigation is continuing, and there are bail conditions, I will not be making any further comments."

It is understood the mayor has been suspended from the Labour Party following his arrest
It is understood the mayor has been suspended from the Labour Party following his arrest. Picture: Getty

Merseyside Police said in a statement: "We can confirm that five people arrested in connection with offences of bribery and witness intimidation as part of an investigation on into building and development contracts in Liverpool have been released on conditional bail pending further inquiries."

It is understood the Mayor has been administratively suspended from the Labour Party, pending the outcome of the case.

None of the men have been charged or named by Merseyside Police.

The arrests are part of an ongoing investigation.

The other suspects were a 33-year-old man from West Derby, Liverpool, and a 46-year-old man from Ainsdale, who were also held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation, and a 25-year-old man from Ormskirk and a 72-year-old man from Aigburth, in Liverpool, who were detained on suspicion of witness intimidation.

A Liverpool City Council spokesperson said: “Liverpool City Council is co-operating with Merseyside Police in relation to its ongoing investigation. We do not comment on matters relating to individuals.”

Anderson was elected mayor of Liverpool in 2012, having been on the council since 1998.

The father-of-four was in the Merchant Navy and worked as a social worker before taking up the role.

He stood to become the Labour candidate for metro mayor of the Liverpool City Region in 2016 but was beaten by the then Walton MP Steve Rotheram, who currently holds the post.

On Friday, Councillor Richard Kemp, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool, said if the arrest was confirmed Mr Anderson should stand down from official duties.

In a statement, he said: "Firstly, mayor Anderson must follow precedent and immediately stand down from all official duties until cleared or convicted. We all have deputies capable of carrying out our work.

"Secondly, we must allow the police to carry out their enquiries. They have been working for 18 months now on a series of allegations relating to problems within the regeneration directorate in relation to the awarding of contracts and property disposals.

"This is a complex matter and takes time.

"Justice is best served by not speculating on any potential issues as these might compromise subsequent trials."