Analysis Breaking Exclusive

Liverpool Independents demand suspension of right-wing Lab councillors over BICo report

Former Labour councillors who quit party over Starmerites’ eagerness to cut vital services call for suspension of right-wing trio linked to ‘dodgy’ cash-cow parking company – local and national media ignore

L-R Cllrs Nick Small, Ann O’Byrne and Steve Munby all held roles with the Beautiful Ideas Company at the heart of brewing scandal

The Liverpool Community Independents (LCI) group on the city’s council have called for the party to suspend three councillors who held roles with the Beautiful Ideas Company (BICo), a cash-run company set up by the council to manage match-day car parks near Liverpool’s two Premier League football grounds.

An official report on BICo’s activity has long been held back from publication by the city council, but is expected to be published now that the Information Commissioner ruled against the council for withholding it – but the mayor’s team have said it will be redacted before publication and no clarity has been provided about what will be removed.

However, an internal report compiled by a local councillor for the mayor revealed, among other worrying aspects, that:

  • the car parks had been run with no documentation of the amount of cash taken
  • BICo had doled out more than £160,000 to organisations with close links to the company’s directors and £190,000 to companies that were either not trading or barely staying afloat
  • sums included £20,000 to an organisation to provide a job for the daughter of one of the councillors (O’Byrne)
  • most of the recipients of the cash were not involved in activities with a social impact
  • the number of cars reported as parking in the car parks was significantly lower than the figure believed to be real

The LCI group sent press releases to local and national media calling for findings of the report to be published in full and for the suspension of the three councillors who held senior roles in BICo – right-wingers Nick Small, Steve Munby and Ann O’Byrne – and notifying the media that they have called for police action, but say that the media have assiduously ignored them.

The first statement reads:

Time for complete transparency.

That is the message from Independent councillors who have been campaigning for the findings of an internal audit report into the Beautiful Ideas CIC to be made public.

Three Labour councillors, Nick Small, Ann O’Byrne and Steve Munby, were linked to BiCo in the past. Small acted as a director from 2014 to 2018 and O’Byrne and Munby were advisors.

Everton Councillor Alfie Hincks, who raised the report at the council’s influential Finance Committee, said:

“It should not have taken four years for the findings to come to light. Questions were initially raised by then councillor Frank Prendergast about the unticketed collection of money at two Anfield car parks. The persistence of investigative journalist Matt O’Donohue eventually persuaded the Information Commissioners Office to act and force transparency.”

Warbreck Councillor Alan Gibbons said:

“We welcome the Mayor’s decision to end the scandalous delay in revealing what is in the report. There was no need for redaction. It is time the council earned a reputation for openness and honesty. There are important questions of governance and probity. The internal audit report, combined with the internal Labour report, raise significant questions. The three councillors should be suspended pending the outcome of investigations.”

Councillor Hincks said:

“I have referred this matter to the police Action Fraud unit to determine if there is cause for criminal investigation. There are too many examples of opaque and questionable dealings in this city.”

Councillor Gibbons added:

“BICo is the tip of the iceberg. We have seen fractional sales such as the Vauxhall Road development, the Chinatown scandal, the handing over of property for a nominal fee or even for nothing including nine acres of land granted for nothing to Julian Flanagan, then a BICo director, the failure to collect rent from property developer Elliot Lawless for the running of the Beetham Plaza car park, shocking conditions at a property and more. It is time to clean up this city.”

A follow-up noted that city mayor Joanne Anderson had promised a full investigation and action against any wrongdoers – but that the three BICo councillors had been removed or omitted from the report when it was finally released:

Independent councillors call for complete transparency over Beautiful Ideas and for the suspension of three councillors involved, pending investigation

Liverpool Community Independent Councillors Alan Gibbons and Alfie Hincks this morning wrote to the Liverpool City Council Chief Solicitor, Mayor, Commissioners and Labour group Chief Whip, expressing concern over the findings of three reports released after a ruling by the Information Commissioners Office.

The councillors have called for the suspension of three councillors associated with the Beautiful Ideas CIC pending the conclusion of the investigation promised by the Mayor on September 15th.

The letter reads:

In a statement released to the press on September 15th, Mayor Joanne promised: “a thorough investigation to identify any behaviour in this report which demonstrates a breach of procedures or codes of conduct” and promised that appropriate action would be taken.

The 2015 report, released yesterday, highlights weaknesses with regards to the administration of the collection of income, inconsistencies in records of money banked, the lack of an audit trail to identify recipients of free spaces, a lack of reconciliations, performed or recorded by the Flanagan Group, lack of transparency and accountability regarding the use of car park generated funds, and conflicts of interest regarding LCC officers.

The 2017 report highlights the lack of proper records of accounts, failures to pay business rates, a failure to pay moneys to community causes, cash payments giving cause for concern, lack of VAT registration, takings not independently verified and reconciled and a lack of signed declarations for audit review.

The 2019 report highlights poor record-keeping, lack of information on monitoring of funds raised from car park activity, use of car park income to award seasonal bonuses in possible contravention of the agreement with the Council that profits would be reinvested in the local community, lack of written records of pitching events, a failure to distribute money to communities, organisations receiving funding going out of business, lack of paper audit trails, the possibility of money spent without proper scrutiny, insufficient controls to abide by HMRC rules and possible poor investment decisions.

In terms of transparency, it seems strange that the three councillors associated with the Beautiful Ideas CIC are not named and that there are a number of redactions. Are they related to this?

Could you let us know how much progress has been made on the promised investigation and what kind of timescale there is on the release of its findings? Councillors are elected representatives and should be held accountable, particularly when there is any suggestion of misuse of public funds. We believe it would be appropriate to suspend the three councillors involved, pending the conclusion of the investigation.”

Liverpool council is currently under the supervision of extremely expensive Tory-appointed commissioners. The commissioners seem to have done nothing to promote scrutiny or transparency or to prevent the withholding of information despite the Information Commissioner’s ruling.

Councillors Small, Munby and O’Byrne were all contacted for comment last week but did not respond.

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60 comments

  1. It appears that the Labour Party has forgotten the 12 years that they lost control of Liverpool City Council to the LibDems.
    About time for the LCI to set themselves up as a local political Party and file more socialist candidates under the LCI banner to have a chance to keep Liverpool socialist.

    1. Is that the same Steve Munby who was a Communist in the 1980s? A member of the North West District Committee of the CPGB at that time?

      1. An ex Party boy involved in corruption and criminal activities? Mm.. I’ll have to think about that. Do you think so. I’ll ring Mandy and see what he thinks.

  2. Remember Trevor jones….good point Maria..The independent councillors is the only way to go and keep working class representation in the heart of Socialism….Liverpool

    1. I wonder if these LCI councillors would be in post if they hadn’t stood as Labour councillors to get elected

      1. Toffee – ….and that is relevant because?

        What triumphalism would that be.

      2. Why does that matter? They didn’t owe it to Labour to stay in, embrace austerity, and do what the Labour group has done, which is stop BEING Labour at all. They didn’t owe it to anyone to support the party that betrayed Labour values by supporting bourgeois schemes like the building of convention centres and the hosting of arms fairs where weapons are sold that will be used solely to slaughter working people and the poor around the globe.

        Nobody owes loyalty to something that isn’t loyal to itself.

      3. Ken – What about their constituents that voted them in as Labour candidates, don’t they count for anything.

    2. Maria’s right and not just in Liverpool. Last time neoliberals had control of the Party, Manchester Withington constituency was lost to the Lib Dems – practically unheard of in this labour stronghold. And of course neoliberals killed the Party in Scotland.

    3. Corruption on a grand scale evidenced here. Thankfully no one would be so equally corrupt and venal as to try and excuse it by instead questioning the status of other actual innocent, non-financially-tainted councillors here. No one would sink to that would they?

      After all there is an obvious money trail!

    1. Joseph – Not at all. They could have shown their honesty and integrity by calling a by-election. It will be interesting to see whether they get re-elected when they are standing as LCI candidates.

      1. George – Have you caught Covid. I would have no objection to there being a compulsory by-election if an MP switches sides.

      2. The only reason you’re demanding by-election is you think the voters would replace them with (inevitably right-wing and therefore bigoted) Labour candidates. You would be wrong. Liverpool is a left-wing city, it isn’t blindly loyal to whatever CALLS itself Labour, Steve. And Keir never had to crush the Left within Liverpool council to gain a lead in the polls.

      3. Ken Burch – You have a very overactive imagination. I have been commenting on this site for several years now, you are more than welcome to trawl through all my past comments to try and find something that supports your fanciful ‘assertions’. Have fun. 😏

      4. SteveH, it would be interesting to see how many of the Labour Cllrs lose their seats when these corrupt practices get talk about on the doorstep at the next local election. Care to bet?

      5. Maria – If any current Labour councillors are found to have been involved in financial irregularities then I have no doubt that they will suspended from the party and automatically barred from standing Labour councillors.

  3. The rotting corpse of BiCo looks set to cause a stink for some time yet. Well done the independents.

    1. Steve H IF “councillors have been found to be involved in financial irregularities,then I have no doubt they will be suspended from the party” …and there is the problem Steve H.?.Your own leader of the labour party and clearly the Secretary are up to their necks in “financial irregularities” or more accurately criminal behaviour thats laundered donations and dissapeared Thirteen million of Corbyns legacy whilst plundering members private info including financial details and avoiding questions from solicitors acting for the victims
      .Steve H you must be living on another planet labour and be up to the neck yourself if you hadn’t noticed the filching of millions and six hundred and fifty thousand for “services rendered” to former staff for stitching up the former leader of the labour party and the results of the General election..Fraud…robbery…and rigging a panorama investigation into the AS scam..Do you have any idea why so many people left the labour party when we couldn’t stomach such behaviour the goes right to the heart of the labour party.?….IN a nutshell the labour party are no longer a fit place for democracy and freedom of expression especially for socialists and the “wrong type of jew,or Moslem and anyone else who has a shred of decency and morality..You must live in cloud cuckoo land in your Caribbean bolt hole.

      1. Joseph – You have FA credible evidence to support you allegations. If you have then you have a duty report it to the authorities

        … and please give the ‘we’ nonsense a rest, you left the labour party a quarter of a century ago and did SFA to support Jeremy Corbyn when he was leader. F
        FS, by your own admission, you couldn’t even be bothered to shift your lazy arse to vote for Corbyn in 2019

  4. SteveH10/10/2022 AT 4:25 PM
    Toffee – ….and that is relevant because?

    Because, bellend, your labour smarmerist candidate was a fucking shoe-in by its fellow smarmerists. And your smarmerist candidates will be backed by the subscription fees they have taken under false pretences, because they have an almost paranoid aversion to facing any competition by fair means.

    They are not of any conviction, but a self-serving parasitical clique, where any dissent is expunged and expelled by THE most nefarious means and under THE most spurious of circumstances.

    And you’re still an horrendous nonce apologist, every bit as abhorrent as the vermin you make excuses for.

      1. Absolutely not, knobhead.

        Your shithousery is only surpassed by your adoration of your idol’s.

        You sneer at those who are conscious enough not to take part in the theft, fraud and shithousery that your idol is himself guilty of.

        You claim to be a democrat when your idol thieves and misappropriates party funds to install his acolytes.

        The Italians were generally laughed at for joining whoever was winning during WWII.

        You are despised because you are no different, having pathetically attempted to lord it over the likes of me with your bullshit claim that you voted Corbyn not once – but TWICE.

        And you ONLY voted keef: “because he was best of a bad bunch”

        Whole simultaneously sneering and furthering the anti-Corbyn mainstream media bullshit that the Al Jazeera documentary – the one you decry as a hatchet job on keef (without giving a single explanation as to WHY) – have perpetuated.

        You’re slime. Gutless, spineless nonce apologising slime.

        The type that delights on the misfortune inflicted upon others, but has the screaming fucking abdabs if keef is even remotely put under the merest scrutiny.

        Nonce apologising slime.

        Just for clarity

        Nonce apologising slime

        And you’ve never once denied or refuted that.

      2. Toffee – On the contrary I have refuted your accusations several times over and also asked you on numerous occasions why not only does the official report disagree with your unfounded allegations but both Savil’s victims and their lawyers also think you are (as usual) talking bollocks.

      3. Who mentioned savile?

        You seem overeager to protest keefs’ alleged innocence in savile’s non-prosecution (as well as Damien grope and grant shafts and Rotherham and Telford for that matter 😙🎶)

        Happy enough to let him get away with lying to the commons to say HE prosecuted Chris hihne, though.

        What did keef mean when he said that?

        And how did keef prosecute him when he had allegedly have nothing to do with prosecuting savile?

        Let’s not forget that you were the one proclaiming that the top magistrate gets all the high profile cases (Claudia Webbe’s)

        So by that reckoning, the top proescutor gets to decide on ALL the top profile cases – as a matter of public interest.

        So keef gets to prosecute huhne for lying about a speeding ticket – but savile, being a high profile NONCE – is NOT his decision?

        OH, OK LAD. 🤦🤦🤦🤦🤦

        And don’t bother with your victims bollocks. They had NO SAY as to whether savile went to trial or not.

        But keef DID.

      4. And lest we forget your snivelling simpering shithousery about keef ORDERING his members to ABSTAIN on a vote that allows children to go hungry at school.

        “but theres too many of them to make a difference” you keep bleating, like the abject shitrat you are

        So then, if three rapists burst into your gaff and began gang raping your missus & kid(s) – you’d keep quiet??

        because there’s too many of them to make any difference ???

        Or would you make as much noise as you could in the hope it alerts people outside to what’s going on?

      5. Toffee – I don’t recall ever saying that. Could you please post a link to your so called quotes (or have you just made them up again?)

  5. Off topic:

    ,From Dorset Eye:

    Watch Tom Watson try to worm his way in to House of Lords following ‘fake’ claims of child sexual abuse

    Keir Starmer is putting Tom Watson in the House of Lords as a reward for helping him get rid of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Watson was rejected from becoming a Lord in 2020, the first time Starmer tried to get him in, after his conduct during the Carl Beech affair was questioned.

    Starmer is trying again (Starmer must feel Watson really deserves his reward!) though many still oppose Watson’s elevation to the HoL – including many of those who’s reputations were ruined as a result of Watson’s false investigation. Watson also says how much he admires Nadine Dorries and Grant Shapps in this clip. But a Tory is having none of it.

    https://dorseteye.com/tom-watson-house-of-lords-carl-beech-sexual-abuse/

    1. PW – You are mistaken, it was Jeremy Corbyn who originally put Tom Watson forward for a peerage. This is what Jeremy wrote in response to Tom’s resignation letter.
      In his letter to Mr Watson in response to his resignation, Mr Corbyn said: “I am proud and glad to have worked with you over these four years and I know this is not the end of our work together.
      “I’ve always enjoyed our very convivial chats about many things, including cycling, exercise and horticulture.”

      1. Presumably that was before Corbyn twigged that Watson was a treacherous bastard!

      2. timfrom – Really, how did you figure that you figure that little gem out? 🤔
        On 06/11/19 Tom announced that he would be standing down both as an MP and as Deputy Leader and that he intended to leave office on 12/12/19.😕

      3. So in other words well after he’d done his dirty work, then.

      4. timffrom – ….and your answer to my question above is?

      5. StevH — I’m not mistaken, you idiot, because I didn’t write the piece I’m quoting from. I couldn’t give a toss for what you think, anyway, so why don’t you take it up with the author.

  6. Wasn’t bercow also nominated by Corbyn for a peerage?

    Seems to me Jeremy was having a tin bath when he threw their names on the hat. 😏😏😏

    **Expects some dead shit retort about Karie Murphy next, conveniently omitting that our friends in the jlm had the screaming Mimi’s about her nomination, didn’t they, wee prick? 😙🎶

    1. Toffee – Corbyn also nominated Iain Mackenzie McNicol, Baron McNicol of West Kilbride for his seat in the House of Lords. McNicol was also appointed an Opposition Whip on the House of Lords frontbench during Corbyn’s tenure as leader.

      1. os – I am puzzled to this day what possessed Corbyn to nominate Karie Murphy.

  7. Maria – If any current Labour councillors are found to have been involved in financial irregularities then I have no doubt that they will suspended from the party and automatically barred from standing Labour councillors

    They’d best get busy fabricating handing over evidence of antisemitism, Trotskyist entryism or homophobia against their mates still in the party then, eh?

    Surefire way to keep their sinecures 😙🎶

  8. SteveH11/10/2022 AT 12:52 AM
    Toffee – I don’t recall ever saying that

    Saying what?

    About the top magistrate, or about your shithouse excuse that there were too many tories for keefs lot to have made no difference?

    As usual with you, you’re gambling on me not being arsed enough to find those quotes.

    And you’re right…I can’t be arsed. But more regulars on here know who they’d be inclined to believe, on balance.

    And even if I did you’d resort to shithousery plan b – deny, obfuscate and claim I’m twisting your words or the context in which you said them.

    Nonce apologist.

    1. Toffee – I was referring to your made up quote “but theres too many of them to make a difference” you keep bleating, like the abject shitrat you are (the quotation marks are yours).

      It isn’t my fault that you have had to resort to telling lies.

      1. It’s all there on black & white.

        Next you’ll be saying you don’t molest your goats. You just penetrate their anuses, without interference

      2. Toffee – Oh dearie, dearie me, you really are a pathetic little saddo. WTF are you desperately trying to impress, yourself?

      3. Oops meant to say you don’t interfere with your goats…

        Still, you got the gist…best go and wash it off you sick nonce apologist.

  9. Didn’t take long.

    Here’s the shithouse excuse you used for keefs’ shithousery over starving kids..

    Ready??

    SteveH15/07/2022 AT 12:32 AM
    baz2001 – Perhaps Labour have a more effective plan to deal with this situation because lets face it with the Tory’s having such a large majority the vote in the Lords would have made bugger all difference to the final outcome.

    Now, need I find you saying the top magistrate gets to deal with all the highest profile cases on the land??

    Can’t imagine that’ll take too long to- but I need a kip

    Lying little shitehawk – you’ve been sussed AGAIN

    1. Toffee – I’m more than happy to stand by what I actually said, why would I be. However it isn’t what you originally quoted me as saying. Thanks for reminding me though, I’m still waiting for you to explain why it wouldn’t have been any more than a pointless gesture.

      1. However it isn’t what you originally quoted me as saying.

        Isn’t it?

        Plan B into action – entirely as predicted.

        What is the difference between what I said: About your shithouse excuse that there were too many tories for keefs lot to have made no difference?

        And what YOU said: because lets face it with the Tory’s having such a large majority the vote in the Lords would have made bugger all difference to the final outcome

        Oh…the quotes NOT VERBATIM therefore it won’t stand up to scrutiny.

        YOU said it.

        OWN IT.

        NONCE.

      2. Toffee – Which bit of ” I’m more than happy to stand by what I actually said,” did you find difficult to understand?

  10. And here’s what you said about the senior magistrate on the land – AND. Posted a link to back up your claim

    https://skwawkbox.org/2022/07/03/webbe-trial-magistrate-disciplined-for-political-comments-in-courtroom/#comment-226813

    SteveH05/07/2022 AT 11:59 AM
    Toffee – “The Chief Magistrate is responsible for hearing many of the most sensitive or complex cases in the magistrates’ courts and in particular extradition and special jurisdiction cases.”

    Denying THIS, too are you?

    You’re gambles failed. You have been found guilty beyond reasonable doubt on BOTH counts of being a lying, snivelling, arrogant overconfident little twat of a thinly-veiled racist nonce apologist.

    Do you have anything to say?

    1. Toffee – So what? ¯⁠\⁠_⁠(⁠ツ⁠)⁠_⁠/⁠¯
      Why would I, what I said is factually correct?
      What is the point that you are trying to make, or are you still trying to work that one out?

      1. Because you are EXCUSING things that HARM CHILDREN, YOU SICK FUCK.

      2. Toffee – Don’t be silly.

        It has just turned midnight here, Goodnight 🥱

      3. Never once has anyone seen you CONDEMN keef for ORDERING labour peers to ABSTAIN. Or even murmur az much as him being wrong in ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM about doing so.

        But we HAVE seen you MAKE EXCUSES for him, time and again.

        So just who is being silly as well as being callous sick nonce apologist, hmmm?

        Cos it ain’t me. I have a conscience. I have social (and self) awareness.

        You, however, have obvious symptoms of latter-stage venereal disease.

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