Cambridgeshire PCC Sir Graham Bright criticised over deputy choice

Sir Graham Bright Sir Graham Bright was voted as Cambridgeshire's first PCC last month

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Cambridgeshire's police and crime commissioner (PCC) has been accused of creating a "sweet shop for his mates" by an election rival after choosing an ex-colleague as his favoured deputy.

Sir Graham Bright put forward Brian Ashton, ex-East Cambridgeshire District Council leader, as his preferred choice to the Police and Crime Panel earlier.

Labour's Ed Murphy said the choice showed Sir Graham was "out of touch".

Sir Graham said Mr Ashton, also a Conservative, was the "right person".

Sir Graham announced his intention to work again with Mr Ashton, the former council leader and ex-mayor of Ely, last week.

'Best buddy'

Earlier Mr Ashton put forward his case to become deputy to the Police and Crime Panel at Peterborough Town Hall.

The person chosen for the role, which will mainly focus on budgetary issues, would work two to three days a week and earn £28,000 a year.

Brian Ashton (left) The former mayor of Ely Brian Ashton (left) has been put forward as Sir Graham's deputy

Mr Murphy, who came second in November's PCC poll, said: "He's appointing his best buddy for a job that isn't really required.

"He's using it as a sweet shop for all of his mates while the police are facing cuts and privatisation."

Fellow election candidate Rupert Moss-Eccardt, Liberal Democrat, said "being a Conservative seems to be the only qualification" and UKIP's Paul Bullen said the deputy's job seemed "an awful lot of money for not very much work".

Sir Graham said: "I firmly believe that Brian has the experience, skills, knowledge and abilities to perform this role to the high standard required for the people of Cambridgeshire."

The panel's decision on whether or not to appoint Mr Ashton is expected to be made public next week.

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