Dear Mr Lewis,
Further to my email of 4 March, I am extremely disappointed that you have not bothered to extend the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let alone provide a substantive reply.
Whilst you may consider it acceptable to lie to Parliament and to deliberately smear your opponents by making outrageous claims which have no basis of fact, I am afraid that my political and moral principles simply do not allow me to let that go. Your indifference to my concern reaffirms my view that you have absolutely no regard for the city of Liverpool and its residents.
Furthermore, I believe your attitude is symptomatic of the values of this coalition government where the Local Government Minister, rather than seeking to build relationships with the leadership of one of the country’s major cities, instead sees fit to use his position to lie to Parliament and deliberately damage my, and the city’s, reputation.
As a Minister, you are bound by the Ministerial Code and I believe that your actions have breached that Code, specifically paragraph 1.2(c):
‘It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.’
My email of 4 March set out the inaccurate information that you misled Parliament with. To reiterate, you claimed that I spent ‘£2m on Beatles Memorabilia which is now worth £300,000.’ This is not true. Liverpool City Council has not incurred any such expenditure. I believe you are referring to the ‘Beatles Story’ which is owned by Merseytravel. You continued with further misleading statements about reserves and council tax and claims that Liverpool spends a quarter of its net budget on cultural events, (we spent 0.2% of net budget on cultural events), a reference to Labour spin doctors although the city council has no politically funded posts supporting the work of the Labour party and perhaps most unfathomably that Liverpool spent £90,000 on a car, a claim so randomly absurd that it almost seems true – I assure you it is not.
They were brought to your attention in good time and clearly you have had ample opportunity to put this matter right by way of apology. In the absence of any indication from yourself that you intend to apologise or remedy the matter, I see no alternative but to pursue redress through formal channels.
I believe that you have failed to correct the inaccurate and untruthful information that you gave to Parliament on 3 March and therefore, in accordance with the Ministerial Code, I intend to refer this matter to the Prime Minister for his consideration and determination.
I regret to have to take this course of action, but I simply cannot ignore a Minister of State being allowed to make misleading, damaging and above all blatantly untrue statements that call into question my reputation and the reputation of this city.
I have copied this also to my colleague Steve Rotheram MP, the Member of Parliament to whom you directed your inaccurate comments to.
Mayor of Liverpool