Labour Police Commissioner candidate set to defy ban on magistrates

As if two Labour candidates for Police and Crime Commissioner posts running into problems with past misdeeds wasn’t enough, now a third is set to defy the ban on magistrates standing:

Lee Barron, the Labour candidate for the new post, has revealed how is prepared to refuse to stand down as a magistrate before the election, which will be held in November.

Guidance issued last Friday by a senior judge has effectively barred magistrates from standing for the post, which in Northamptonshire comes with an estimated £70,000 salary…

He said: “I am going to say I am not going to stand down, I am going to carry on”. [Northampton Chronicle]

Many Conservative candidates are also likely to face a problem:

It is thought that the guidance issued last Friday by the senior presiding judge in England and Wales could affect as many as six or seven – a fifth – of the official Tory candidates so far adopted and others who are standing as independents or for other parties.

One of the Conservatives’ leading candidates openly attacked the judge’s ruling on Thursday night. Craig Mackinlay, the frontrunner to become the police and crime commissioner in Kent, contacted the Guardian on Twitter and said: “Massive row developing (about) PCCs and magistrates. I am ‘caught’. Unacceptable and nonsensical. Post election can agree but not pre.”

His intervention came as those affected started to take the first steps to launch a possible legal challenge to Lord Justice Goldring’s decision.

Among the independents affected will be Ann Barnes, who has been chair of Kent police authority for the past six years.

Goldring’s guidance is also believed to ban the dozens of elected councillors who are also magistrates from serving on police and crime panels, which are being introduced to scrutinise the actions of elected police commissioners. [The Guardian]

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

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