A NEW political group aims to make Wirral independent from the rest of the UK – if it can get elected.
The Wirral First political organisation has even been praised by a senior member of the influential think-tank the Adam Smith Institute.
The group aims to put up around five candidates in the forthcoming local elections in May and has a raft of controversial policies ranging from legalisation of prostitution and drugs to a private healthcare system.
However, a spokesman said the group’s members believe low corporation tax to attract businesses to the borough and lower council taxes will be key to gaining support.
The party hopes to take advantage of the lack of outright control of Wirral Council by any of the major parties with just a handful of candidates in this year’s local elections.
Wirral Council is currently led by the Conservative group, with the support of the Liberal Democrats. Although Labour are the largest group they only have 30 of the 66 council seats.
Wirral First spokesman Ken Ferguson said: “Because the council is so balanced it would not take more than a few seats to have a lever on power.”
The group aims in the short term to contest the seats by saying they would “outsource all functions and making the council as small an entity as possible”. And in the longer term, it hopes “to make the peninsula of Wirral an autonomous, self governing region within the United Kingdom”.
Sam Bowman, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, wrote on the thinktank’s blog that he was “not sure the Wirral will ever manage to achieve any of this” but added: “Why shouldn't it?”
Describing Wirral First as a “fantastic group – with at least one member” he argues that “new technology is rendering the nation-state obsolete, and this will be the century of the city-state”.
Wirral First says should it gain power it aims to make Wirral a low tax haven for companies, which could create a Hong Kong style economy.
Mr Ferguson said what Peel are planning with their £4.5bn plan for Wirral Waters “fits in with our concept”.
He said: “We should be trying to attract more big companies to Wirral and lower corporation tax would be very attractive to them.”
Although small political groups and independent candidates have usually not fared well in many elections in Wirral, the group is optimistic of its chances. Mr Ferguson said: “We think we have got a lot of people interested, particularly in west Wirral, who are like-minded. People want lower council tax.”