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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Liam Thorp

31-year-old becomes new Liverpool Lib Dem opposition leader

31-year-old Carl Cashman has been elected as the new leader of Liverpool Council's Liberal Democrat opposition group.

Cllr Cashman, the former leader of the Lib Dems in Knowsley, was elected for the first time in Liverpool at last week's local elections where he will now represent the Church ward in the south of the city.

One of his key tasks will be to try and unite an opposition group that has been divided over 'serious tensions' in recent years.

Following the elections, which saw the Lib Dems gather a disappointing 15 seats in total, veteran councillor Richard Kemp announced he would be standing down as the group's leader after 11 years.

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This left the stage open for Cllr Cashman, who fended off competition from Cllrs Liz Makinson and Rob McAllister-Bell to be voted in as leader at a group meeting last night.

Speaking after his election, Cllr Cashman said: "I’m thrilled to be leading a group of people in key positions who can work alongside me and take this party forward in Liverpool.

“We will continue to hold this Labour administration to account and challenge them at every opportunity to ensure best value for council taxpayers. The council’s leader may have changed but it’s the same old Labour with some of the highest council tax bills in the land while at the same time failing to deliver basic services.

“I will be a leader who listens and I want to meet with communities across the city as we continue to highlight the failure of this Labour council and set out our long term vision for the city .

“It’s time for a different kind of leadership and a different kind of politics and I’m confident we can continue to grow and deliver the change required.”

Cllr Kemp added: “I am delighted that Carl Cashman has become the new leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. He has seven years experience as a council group leader and brings that expertise with him. He has a wider experience of national affairs, as an active member of the local government associations board and knows the city region well."

He added that he and former Lib Dem group leader Mike Storey - who returned to the council in last week's elections - would be on hand to help Cllr Cashman develop as a leader.

As well as holding Labour to account, one of Cllr Cashman's key tasks will be to try and unite a group that has been riven by divisions in recent years.

Sources have told the ECHO that there are some within the Lib Dem group who are not speaking to each other and that it could take some time to rebuild a sense of unity. Another source said there have been 'serious tensions' within the group in recent years, largely based around who would replace Cllr Kemp when he decided to step down.

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