Lord Adonis met with the Vice-Chancellor and Head of Politics, Professor Jon Tonge, as part of a visit to Liverpool to gauge support for an elected mayor in the city.
Liverpool is one of 12 cities outside of London that are being given the opportunity to hold a referendum on elected mayors.
Lord Adonis, who is advising the Government on its plans to increase the level of accountability in local government, said: “The mayor would have a direct mandate in place of an indirect mandate at the moment.
“The argument is that by having a direct mandate they would be better known, they would have more practical authority, and they would be able to get things done faster and be more strategic in the way they take things forward in the city.”
Other cities which will also have the opportunity to hold a referendum in 2012, include Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Leeds, Leicester, Coventry, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.