Conservatives may not fight police elections

 

The Conservatives are seriously considering not standing candidates for the elections for the new elected police commissioners which are due to take place next May - providing the legislation gets through parliament.

The policy has been actively pursued by David Cameron and the Conservatives, against strong scepticism from many Liberal Democrats, yet it seems the Tories may play only an indirect role in the process.

Rather than stand candidates under the Conservative banner, the party is actively considering instead whether to put its support behind other contenders, such as prominent and distinguished local individuals who decide to stand for the posts, perhaps as independents.

The Liberal Democrats don't seem to have made much progress on choosing candidates so far, or even to have decided whether they will actually field candidates.

A Lib Dem spokeswoman has just told me: "Given that the details around elected police commissioners are still being decided, we're still considering options at the moment."

Labour, too, are waiting for the Police Bill to go through Parliament before deciding whether to fight the elections.

One problem for each of the parties is that the elections will be very costly, with each constituency - or police authority - covering a county, or collection of counties.

But in much of England there won't be existing local elections taking place next May, so the new polls could be especially costly for the parties. At one point the government was thinking of postponing the elections for a year until May 2013, so as to coincide with elections in the shire counties, but this idea has now been dropped.

Meanwhile, as I announced several months ago, the BNP IS planning to fight the elections. So, too, I imagine, will Ukip.

The danger is that if none of the three main parties take part in the contests, they could produce very controversial outcomes.

Traditionally party selection processes do introduce an element of quality control into public elections, though that quality control is not without its faults.

 
Michael Crick, Political editor, Newsnight Article written by Michael Crick Michael Crick Political editor, Newsnight

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    The depoliticisation of public life grows apace - why not simply contract running the police to Anderson Consulting, Coopers & Lybrand or Syntegra? That way no one has to run for election, and when thengs go pear-shaped, the consultants can be fired and a new logo put over the door - until it's their turn to return to the gravy factory again.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Whether the candidates the Conservatives back are actualy declared, card-carrying members of the party is irrelevant. They will be Tories anyway.. or at least people who will 'do the right thing'.

    Another cynical white-wash to convince everyone how liberal, democratic and unbiased the ruling elite is.

    The Police will do their bidding at the end of the day


 
 

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