Is Liverpool Labour declaring war on Merseyside?
AS THE battle to become Liverpool's first Police and Crime Commissioner moves up a gear, the region's Labour groups are split as to who they're going to support.
With the ballot now underway to choose between ex-Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle, former Wavertree MP Jane Kennedy or the current chair of the Police Authority Bill Weightman, mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson was prompted to send out a letter - signed 'yours fraternally' - to all members in Liverpool explaining why he is supporting Ms Kennedy for the job.
He needs someone who will be 'accountable to the Labour Party' and someone that he can work with, which many in regional Labour circles have suggested to Mr Brocklebank was less a ringing endorsement of Ms Kennedy and more a wafer-thinly veiled attack on Mr Kilfoyle.
Obviously those close to Mr Kilfoyle have suggested that 'accountability to the Labour Party' in this context means accountability to the mayor himself. But away from such speculation, there is a undoubtedly a move afoot to see some of the big institutions of Merseyside be made accountable to Liverpool, if nothing else.
First, Liverpool Labour Kirkdale Cllr Joe Hanson has, with his report on some of the questionable financial practices at Merseytravel, put Sefton-based chairman Mark Dowd on the back foot, before forming a 'gang of eight' and demanding his resignation.
Now, what should we learn but that Fazakerley Cllr Dave Hanratty is attempting to smoke out the chair of the Fire Authority, Knowsley Cllr Tony Newman, whom of course he 'gets on with' but just seemingly doesn't feel is up to the role.
With all this in mind, it is no surprise that Mr B's sources tell him the Labour groups of other parts of Merseyside are fearful of a Liverpool bid to expand its frontiers of influence.
And, according to those same sources, there is anxiety that a candidate endorsed by Mayor Anderson should become Police Commissioner, lest the city Mayor become the 'de facto Mayor of Merseyside'.
IT'S NOT just the region's Labour members who are keenly interested in the Police Commissioner battle, but also some bigger national names as well.
Amongst them are former home secretary John Reid (Kennedy) and housewives' choice favourite Andy Burnham (Kilfoyle).
But if one looks at some of the other names lining up on the respective fronts, there is an interesting theme developing - namely that of the Murdoch Empire and the phone-hacking scandal whose tentacles have gripped the nation and almost dragged the press, Parliament and (not insignificantly) the police into a watery grave.
Where Mr Kilfoyle has in his camp the 'scourge of News International' Tom Watson MP on side, Ms Kennedy has ex-home secretary David Blunkett.
The same Blunkett who this year renewed his £49,500 a year contract as an advisor on 'social responsibility' for ... News International.