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Kirkdale councillor plans on retiring next year – likely to continue living in Spain until then

Cllr Malcolm Kenned © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

A Kirkdale councillor residing in Spain has told Scottie Press he is not likely to return to Liverpool between now and the next time his position is up for election in 2022.

Cllr Malcolm Kennedy also revealed he plans to retire at the end of his current term, meaning there is a possibility that the former Lord Mayor may never return to Kirkdale again in his role as a councillor.


Despite this, Cllr Kennedy says he will continue to claim a full councillor allowance of over £10k.


“It doesn’t make sense for me to stand again,” Cllr Kennedy told Scottie Press.


“I’ve done my best to continue to represent the people of my ward and will continue to do so, but I will not stand again because I don’t think it’s realistic that I would put myself up for election when my intentions are to stay in Spain and retire with my wife.


“Will I come back between here and then? I would have thought that was very likely but in the present circumstances, I’m better remaining.


“Even if I tried to get back at the present time, new regulations mean I would have to pay around £3000 just to get back to Liverpool.”


"We have rats running about everywhere and he’s living in luxury in Spain."


Cllr Kennedy has stayed in Madrid with his wife, a Spanish citizen, since the first national lockdown in March 2020, briefly returning to Liverpool between October to December last year.


He insists that, although he lives over 1,200 miles away, he is fully committed to his position as a councillor and regularly attends committee meetings online (27 out of an expected 36 since March 2020).


“I am doing the job for which I was elected,” he continued.


“I represent the community in the City Council and in the committee; I answer their emails and answer their phone calls. The point is, I’m still available.


“Everyone who is contacting me at the moment is getting a response, apart from those who are abusive. There are certain people who are best not to engage with.”


Liverpool City Council has recently defended Cllr Kennedy’s position.


Responding to a Freedom of Information request submitted last month, the council said Cllr Kennedy satisfied the criteria for being a councillor as he was registered as an elector and homeowner in Liverpool prior to being nominated for the role.


“As Councillor Kennedy satisfied an eligibility criteria which was applicable at the time of election as opposed to one which was required for the entire duration of the term of office, he continues to legitimately hold the office to which he was elected,” the council’s response reads.


“In relation to how he discharges his role and responsibilities, as indicated in our previous response it is a matter for the individual Councillor in each instance to determine how they undertake their role.


“However, Councillor Kennedy continues to actively engage and attend Council and Committee meetings, and similarly receives and responds to correspondence in his capacity as Councillor and which relate to the Ward which he represents.”


Scottie Press has reached out to Liverpool Council for comment.


Scottie Press also spoke to several Kirkdale residents about Cllr Kennedy, including Audrey O’Keefe, who submitted the aforementioned FOI request.


“He’s deserted the city when it’s on its knees,” said O’Keefe.


“It’s one of the worst constituencies in Liverpool and he turns his back and walks away. We have rats running about everywhere and he’s living in luxury in Spain.


“The elderly people, or the people that can’t go out, he’s not there to support them, so every person that dies in Kirkdale of Covid-19, or just dies of loneliness, the blood is on his hands.”


One resident, Victoria Feeney, says she liked Cllr Kennedy in the past but now feels “disappointed”.


“I met him a few years ago and he was really nice,” she said.


“He’s done a lot for the community but I’m disappointed he’s in Spain. How can he understand what’s going on in the area if he’s not here?


“What about people who don’t have access to the internet and can’t email him? There must be so many people who won’t be able to contact him. It’s not fair on them.”


Another resident told Scottie Press that parents received no support from Cllr Kennedy when they learned that several teaching assistants were being made redundant at a local primary school.


Danielle Ashton was at the forefront of the campaign and had hoped Cllr Kennedy would be able to offer support, given he was a former governor at Trinity Catholic Primary School.


“He did nothing to help us, he wouldn’t even give us a comment,” told Ashton.