Liverpool should be brought under the joint control of government commissioners in an unprecedented move after inspectors found multiple failures and a “serious breakdown of governance” at the council, the communities secretary has said.Robert Jenrick said an emergency inspection had painted a “deeply concerning picture of mismanagement,” an “environment of intimidation” and a “dysfunctional culture” at one of the biggest councils in Britain.He said government commissioners would be sent to “exercise certain and limited” functions of Liverpool city council for at least three years under a plan that will prove controversial just six weeks before the local elections.Steve Reed, the shadow communities and local government secretary, said he accepted the report in full and that Labour supported the government’s plan to reform the council. He said the report had raised “grave and serious concerns” and “severe institutional weaknesses” at the Labour-run authority.It is thought to be the first time the Westminster government has directly intervened in the day-to-day running of a city the size of Liverpool and is politically incendiary because Merseyside is one of the staunchest Labour cities in Britain.The region sends 14 Labour MPs to Westminster. A Liverpool seat last had a Convervative MP 38 Tory years ago. The last Conservative councillor lost his seat 23 years ago.Jenrick’s decision followed a damning report into parts of the council by Max Caller, a local government consultant who carried out an emergency inspection on behalf of the government. The report was ordered following the arrests of five men, including the Labour mayor, Joe Anderson, last December.Anderson was arrested as part of Merseyside police’s Operation Aloft, an ongoing investigation into building and development contracts in Liverpool that led to the arrests of 12 people. He denies all wrongdoing.Commissioners were sent in to take over the running of councils in Northampton in 2018, Rotherham in 2015 and Tower Hamlets in 2014 but none of them was on the scale of Liverpool, a city of half a million people.