Mayor told attempts to avoid responsibility for arms fair going ahead are ‘improper and unlawful delegation of powers’, says Public Interest Law Centre
The well known Merseyside Pensioners Association (MPA) has welcomed news of a legal challenge to Liverpool mayor Joanne Anderson’s refusal to take action to stop an electronic weapons fair scheduled to take place later this year at Liverpool’s ‘ACC’ venue, which is owned by the council.
‘Improper and unlawful’
Anderson had claimed that she did not have the power to cancel the event, but a 13-page letter sent to Ms Anderson by the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) on behalf of an activist trying to stop the event warns her that her refusal to step in relies on an ‘improper and unlawful delegation of powers‘ – and that the group is seeking a Judicial Review of her conduct if she does not change course:
If the Mayor or Cabinet refuses to cancel the Electronic Arms Fair we ask that this letter is treated as a pre-action protocol letter for the purposes of Judicial Review proceedings.
Mark Jackson, the campaigner on whose behalf PILC is acting, said:
I’m appalled that a labour administration could countenance let alone allow an arms fair to be held. There is no room for weapons dealers in Liverpool. I want to know who initially thought an arms fair was a good idea [and] when it was discussed by the ACC board and when Liverpool City Council was aware of the arms fair.
Why didn’t the mayor veto the event early on?
Rather than veto the event, the city’s Labour group whipped councillors not to oppose the weapons event, although Anderson eventually put her name to an open letter signed by a cross-party councillors of more than sixty councillors against it.
The MPA, well known for its determined fights against injustice in the city and its readiness to oppose shoddy conduct by the council, has welcomed the legal move to stop the event. In a statement released today, the group said:
The Chair of the ACC Liverpool group, Max Steinberg has tried to market the arms fair as an event that will “allow the development of sophisticated systems used to make the world a safer place.”
However, unsurprisingly, the guest lists for arms fairs frequently include regimes that abuse human rights, and countries actively involved in armed conflicts – the Electronic Arms Fair in Liverpool will be no exception.
In July the MPA called for a national demonstration against the arms fair and working with trade unions and other groups. The demonstration will take place 11 September.
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