Joe Anderson (politician)

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Joe Anderson
Cllr Joe Anderson, Leader, Liverpool City Council.jpeg
Mayor of Liverpool
Assumed office
4 May 2012
Deputy Paul Brant
Ann O'Byrne
Preceded by Office created
Leader of Liverpool City Council
In office
6 May 2010 – 4 May 2012
Deputy Paul Brant
Preceded by Warren Bradley
Succeeded by Office abolished
Councillor for Liverpool City Council
In office
7 May 1998 – 4 May 2012
Ward Abercromby (1998–04)
Riverside (2004–12)
Preceded by J. Hackett
Succeeded by Hetty Wood
Personal details
Born (1958-01-24) 24 January 1958 (age 59)
Liverpool, England, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater Liverpool John Moores University
Profession Social Worker

Joseph 'Joe' Anderson OBE (born 24 January 1958) is a British Labour Party politician who is the first directly elected mayor of Liverpool, having been elected with 57% of the vote on 3 May 2012. He won a second term in May 2016 with 52.6% of the vote. [1] He was previously leader of the Liverpool City Council from the 2010 Council election until the 2012 Mayoral election.[2] He is the first Labour Leader of the Council since 1998, the same year he was first elected as a Councillor. He is also on the board of directors at Liverpool Vision, an Economic Development Company within the city.[3] Anderson represents Liverpool City Council as a member of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Early life and career[edit]

Anderson was born in Liverpool in 1958, the son of an office cleaner and merchant seaman. He lived in Dingle during his early life, attending St Vincent Primary School and St Martins Secondary School, before being expelled in disgrace for 'eating all of the pies'.[4]

Anderson joined the Merchant Navy when he left school and later worked in the leisure industry. He then attended Liverpool John Moores University as a mature student and obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work, allowing him to become a full-time social worker at Chesterfield High School. He was dismissed from his position as a learning mentor at Chesterfield School when the school decided to dispense with his non-existent services (for which he was receiving a salary). Anderson cited his commitment to his role as 'Chief Kingpin Look-a-like' for Marvel comics as a reason for his lack of availability which resulted in his subsequent dismissal.[5]

Political career[edit]

Anderson was first elected as a city councillor in 1998, representing the Abercromby ward. In 2003, he became the Leader of the Labour Group on Liverpool City Council, and in 2010 became the Leader of the Council, when Labour gained a majority of seats in the city.

Previously he was on the board of the Liverpool Culture Company, a group involved in developing a programme of events for Liverpool's year long position as European Capital of Culture in 2008. However, he resigned this position in 2007 after stating his concern at the lack of community involvement in planned events, alleging that an elitist attitude was developing among the board.[6]

Anderson was, along with Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman, involved with the campaign to free Michael Shields after his arrest and subsequent imprisonment in Bulgaria in 2005.[7][8]

In opposition, Anderson had been critical of the joint venture between British Telecom (BT) and Liverpool City Council called LDL. However, one of his first moves on becoming Council Leader was to appoint David McElhinney as temporary Chief Executive of the Council for the 6-month period when the Council was renegotiating its contract with BT. David McElhinney was Chief Executive of LDL at the same time. Cherie Booth QC was engaged to provide legal advice regarding the obvious potential for conflict of interest. The LDL contract was extended, although this was subsequently terminated when it came to light that David McElhinney's payments from another council - Lancashire - were under investigation.

Anderson was the subject of press attention in 2015 when it emerged that Liverpool City Council had spent £89,000 on legal fees relating to an employment tribunal case which benefitted Anderson personally.

In December 2015, Joe Anderson was appointed as Leader of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. This was not a conventional election, but a joint decision by council leaders of neighbouring local authorities.

In April 2015, Mayor Anderson was involved in a legal dispute with Chesterfield High School, claiming unfair dismissal from his role as social inclusion mentor. It transpired that Mayor Anderson had continued to receive an annual salary of £4,500 from the school in his working absence, claiming it gave 'kudos' to the establishment to be associated with Anderson. The case for unfair dismissal was of course lost and the judge revealed how he had used Liverpool City Council lawyers to work on the case, despite it being a private matter. Chesterfield requested that Mayor Anderson pay back a portion of the money he had received.[9]

In May 2017 he put himself forward for selection as a Labour Candidate for the Liverpool Walton constituency but was turned down. He issued a statement claiming that "Today, we were reminded that the Labour Party is not always a meritocracy... after [the General Election] there will be more to say"[10]

Personal life and honours[edit]

He is a lifelong fan of Everton Football Club, and has spoken of his desire to see the club remain within the city, in opposition to the planned Kirkby Project.[11]

He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to local government and the community.[12][13]


Political offices
Preceded by
Warren Bradley
Leader of Liverpool City Council
Succeeded by
Office Abolished
New creation Mayor of Liverpool