Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeDemocracy in DecayThe great Police Commissioner stitch-up

The great Police Commissioner stitch-up


THERE are 41 Police Commissioner elections in England and Wales on May 2.

The main national political parties have fixed it to make it virtually impossible for independents and smaller local political parties to take part.

To stand as a Police Commissioner you need to deposit an exorbitant £5,000, which you get back only if you get 5 per cent or more of the vote.

My party #CreweFirst had candidates who wanted to stand under the banner of ‘Keeping Cheshire Residents Safe’, a description registered with the Electoral Commission. We could raise the deposit but we could not afford to lose £5,000. We are just a local party, entirely self-funded with no outside financial help.

The role of Cheshire Police Commissioner has only ever been held by Tory and Labour, and not surprisingly there are just three candidates on May 2 – Tory, Labour and LibDem.

The deposit to stand for Parliament is £500, again returned if you get 5 per cent of the vote. And you get a free leaflet delivery to every constituent, which you DON’T get when you stand for Police Commissioner. It costs nothing to stand in council elections.

The £5,000 Police Commissioner deposit is designed to limit the opposition to the major parties, which is undemocratic. It should be reduced to £500, to match it with Parliament.

The unfairness does not stop there. In previous Police Commissioner elections, if one candidate did not get over 50 per cent of the vote, second preferences were taken into account. This meant that if a smaller party or an independent could get into second place on the first count, there was a good chance they could be elected on the second or third.

The Tory Government have now returned the elections to first-past-the-post, again which favours the established national parties. What a stitch-up!

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Brian Silvester
Brian Silvester
Brian Silvester is an Independent Councillor with 48 years service.(One of the longest serving in the country). Former Conservative Council Leader and Conservative Parliamentary Candidate.

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