THE LIVERPOOL Lib Dems were in disarray last night, after their interim leader Flo Clucas publicly undermined claims made by senior Lib Dem Councillor Richard Kemp, about Tory claims on Council reserves.
Clucas - who is standing in as leader following the suspension of former leader Warren Bradley, who is being investigated for allegations of electoral fraud - was quoted in the Liverpool Echo backing Tory claims about reserves held by Liverpool City Council. Senior Lib Dem Ron Gould also weighed into the debate, saying in a press release that Liverpool should use reserves to prevent cuts.
However, these claims were thrown into confusion when it emerged Cllr Richard Kemp had written on his blog that claims about council reserves, made by Tory minister Eric Pickles, were 'nonsense', and that 'None of these claims [about reserves] are true.'
Cllr Kemp - a strong supporter of Nick Clegg who has referred to himself as a Cleggista - went on to say that Pickle's claims about reserves amounted to 'incomprehensible drivel', and admitted it wasn't possible to use reserves to pay for Lib Dem / Tory government cuts: 'We know that we have to keep short, medium and long term funds for a variety of reasons', wrote Cllr Kemp.
Cllrs Gould and Clucas appear at odds with Cllr Kemp. Despite the departure of Cllr Bradley, it seems the Lib Dems remain deeply divided, and remain in total disarray.
Labour's finance spokesperson, Paul Brant, said: 'The Lib Dems don't know whether they're coming or going.'
'But Cllr Kemp is absolutely right. The truth about reserves is simple, and Eric Pickles does indeed talk drivel when it comes to reserves.'
'The law says the council has to hold reserves to cover extreme events. What if there was a major flood, or what if there was a major incident in the city which required us to access money to help people? That's what reserves are for.'
'The council holds the minimum amount of free reserves which the district auditor will allow us too. And in the budget, we used the maximum amount possible to reduce the impact of some of the worst Lib Dem / Tory cuts.'
'Very simply, if we had piles of money sitting around which we could use, we'd use it.'
'But the truth is, we don't have piles of money sitting around. The Lib Dems know this, and they are simply misleading people if they tell you anything else.'