WIRRAL Council’s embattled Labour leadership is facing a major crisis as the two other parties set out plans to oust it.
The Tories and Lib Dems have both submitted motions of no confidence in Labour’s Steve Foulkes, calling for him to be removed as leader of the authority.
They follow the Anna Klonowski report into the claims of whistleblower Martin Morton, a former Wirral social services employee bullied and forced out of his job after revealing systematic financial abuse of vulnerable people in council care.
The council has since apologised to Mr Morton and says it has set in place a series of changes in how the authority works to deal with the problems highlighted by the report.
But both Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders have been heavily critical of the way Labour has responded to the report and are now demanding its leader step down.
Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green said “vital information is still being withheld” by the Labour leadership and added: “Currently the council is in a state of paralysis, the Labour Administration’s response to this report has been shambolic.”
He added: “A fresh approach is what is required to remove the stain of this shameful scandal and to refocus the council on its true role of providing services to the communities and people of Wirral.”
Lib Dem leader Tom Harney said he would also be calling for a “full public inquiry” following the Klonowski report.
He said that after his calls for Cllr Foulkes to consider his position he had hoped the leader would “find it within himself to do the decent thing and resign”.
Cllr Harney said: “Instead we are hearing the same old promises of cooperation which have been reneged on in the past as he attempts to cling to his office.”
The full council will vote on the no confidence motions when it meets on February 13, but the crisis could not come at a more critical time – just a week before the council is due to set its budget.
Cllr Foulkes hit back at his critics saying the events discussed in the AKA report span several years and different administrations involving all three political groups, and three different council leaders, as well as numerous senior officers.
He said he was disappointed the other parties had chosen “this time to throw the council into chaos”.