Liverpool City Council elections will be held every four years from 2023.[1] Between 1973 and 2021 elections were generally held three years out of every four, with a third of the council being elected each time. Liverpool City Council is the local authority for the metropolitan borough of Liverpool in Merseyside, England. Since the last boundary changes in 2004, 90 councillors have been elected from 30 wards.[2] New ward boundaries are being prepared to take effect from the 2023 election.[3]

Liverpool City Council has existed since 1880, when Liverpool was awarded city status. Prior to this date the local authority was a town council.

Political control

Municipal Borough 1835-1889

Prior to 1835, Liverpool was an ancient borough, with its council appointed under the terms of various charters dating back to 1207. Under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, boroughs across the country were standardised to become municipal boroughs governed by a corporation, also called the town council.[4] Elections were held every year for one third of the council and the term of office for councillors was three years. The municipal borough of Liverpool also held city status from 1880, allowing the corporation to call itself Liverpool City Council. Political control of the municipal borough was held by the following parties:

Party in control Years
Whig 1835–1841
Conservative 1841–1889

County Borough 1889-1973

When elected county councils were established in 1889, Liverpool was made a county borough (whilst retaining its city status), making it administratively independent from Lancashire County Council, although the city remained part of Lancashire for ceremonial purposes.[5] Political control of the city council whilst it was a county borough was held by the following parties:

Party in control Years
Conservative 1889–1892
Liberal 1892–1895
Conservative 1895–1955
No overall control 1955–1956
Labour 1956–1962
Conservative 1962–1963
Labour 1963–1967
Conservative 1967–1971
No overall control 1971–1972
Labour 1972–1974

Metropolitan Borough 1973-

Liverpool became a metropolitan borough (with city status) under the Local Government Act 1972 and was transferred to the new metropolitan county of Merseyside, with Merseyside County Council providing county-level services. The first elections to the reformed city council were held in 1973. The first elections to Merseyside County Council were held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority before the revised arrangements took effect on 1 April 1974. Merseyside County Council was abolished in 1986 and Liverpool became a unitary authority. Political control of the council since 1974 has been held by the following parties:[6][7][8]

Party in control Years
No overall control 1974–1983
Labour 1983–1992
No overall control 1992–1996
Labour 1996–1998
Liberal Democrats 1998–2010
Labour 2010–present


For the mayor of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, see Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region.

Council meetings are chaired by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, a post which is largely ceremonial. Political leadership on the city council since 2012 has been provided by the similarly named but separate role of the directly elected Mayor of Liverpool. Prior to 2012, political leadership was provided by the leader of the council. The city council has voted to abolish the directly elected mayor position at the end of the current mayor's term of office in 2023 and return to having a leader of the council.

The leaders of the council from 1918 to 2012 were:

County Borough leaders

Councillor Party From To
Charles Petrie[9] Conservative 4 Nov 1918
Archibald Salvidge[10] Conservative 18 Nov 1918 11 Dec 1928
Thomas White[11][12] Conservative 7 Jan 1929 25 Jan 1938
Alfred Shennan Conservative 1938 1955
Jack Braddock Labour 1955 1961
Maxwell Entwistle Conservative 1961 1963
Jack Braddock Labour May 1963 Nov 1963
Bill Sefton Labour 1963 1967
Harold Steward Conservative 1967 1972
Bill Sefton Labour 1972 31 Mar 1974

The last leader of the council before the 1974 reforms, Bill Sefton, went on to be the first leader of Merseyside County Council.

Metropolitan Borough leaders

Councillor Party From To
Cyril Carr Liberal 1 Apr 1974 1975
Bill Smythe Liberal 1975 1976
John Hamilton Labour 1976 1978
Trevor Jones Liberal 1978 1983
John Hamilton Labour 1983 Nov 1986
Tony Byrne[13] Labour Nov 1986 Mar 1987
Trevor Jones Liberal Mar 1987 May 1987
Harry Rimmer Labour May 1987 Oct 1987
Keva Coombes Labour 1987 1990
Harry Rimmer Labour 1990 1996
Frank Prendergast Labour 1996 1998
Mike Storey Liberal Democrats May 1998 25 Nov 2005
Warren Bradley Liberal Democrats Dec 2005 May 2010
Joe Anderson Labour May 2010 6 May 2012

Directly elected mayors

Councillor Party From To
Joe Anderson Labour 7 May 2012 Dec 2020
Independent Dec 2020 9 May 2021
Joanne Anderson Labour 10 May 2021 4 May 2023

‡ Joe Anderson was suspended from the Labour Party and stood aside from his mayoral role in December 2020. He remained nominally the mayor until the end of his term of office in May 2021, but the deputy mayor, Wendy Simon, served as acting mayor during that period.[14]

Metropolitan Borough leaders

Councillor Party From To
Liam Robinson Labour 4 May 2023 Incumbent

Council elections

Elections following the grant of city status to Liverpool on 12 May 1880:

Municipal Borough

County Borough

Metropolitan Borough

See also


  1. ^ "The City of Liverpool (Scheme of Elections and Elections of Elected Mayor) Order 2021",, The National Archives, SI 2021/1089, retrieved 29 August 2022
  2. ^ a b "The City of Liverpool (Electoral Changes) Order 2003",, The National Archives, SI 2003/2505, retrieved 29 August 2022
  3. ^ "Liverpool Electoral Review". Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  4. ^ "Liverpool Municipal Borough / County Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  5. ^ "Local Government Act 1888",, The National Archives, 1888 c. 41, retrieved 29 August 2022
  6. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Liverpool". BBC News Online. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Defection confusion in Liverpool". BBC News Online. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Sir C. Petrie: A surprise resignation from city council". Liverpool Echo. 4 November 1918. p. 3. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  10. ^ "Sir Archibald Savidge elected Tory leader in the city council today". Liverpool Echo. 18 November 1918. p. 3. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  11. ^ "Sir T. White elected council leader: Unanimity at today's meeting". Liverpool Echo. 7 January 1929. p. 9. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  12. ^ "The passing of Sir Thomas White". Liverpool Echo. 25 January 1938. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  13. ^ "We'll tame rebels yet". Liverpool Echo. 21 November 1986. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  14. ^ Thorp, Liam (10 December 2020). "Who is Wendy Simon? The woman stepping in to run Liverpool as interim leader after Joe Anderson stands aside". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  15. ^ Jeffery, David (1 August 2017). "The strange death of Tory Liverpool: Conservative electoral decline in Liverpool, 1945–1996". British Politics. 12 (3): 386–407. doi:10.1057/s41293-016-0032-6. ISSN 1746-9198.
  16. ^ The City of Liverpool (Electoral Arrangements) Order 1979, SI 1979/1411
  17. ^ "Liverpool council". BBC News Online. Retrieved 17 February 2010.