Second Labour Police Commissioner candidate falls foul of “exceptionally tough condition of eligibility”

Alan Charles has now joined Bob Ashford in standing down as a Labour candidate for November’s Police and Crime Commissioner elections due to a youthful brush with the law.

His statement points the finger at the Home Office and Electoral Commission:

The Labour Party has only now received clarification from the Home Office and the Electoral Commission that juvenile convictions for imprisonable offences will bar people from becoming a police and crime commissioner.

That is, however, not quite the full story because this issue was directly debated when the legislation was going through Parliament, with both Conservative and Labour figures saying how vital the provision was:

Nick Herbert (Minister of State, Justice; Arundel and South Downs, Conservative): The standard is higher than any that has been suggested in either Government or Opposition amendments. It is a stringent measure…

Vernon Coaker (Gedling, Labour): As the Minister rightly said, that is an exceptionally tough condition of eligibility to stand, but it is right…

Nick Herbert: I do not think that we can agree to such stringency but then say, “They may have committed a relatively minor offence when they were young.”

Vernon Coaker: I understand the point he made about the provision applying to any imprisonable offence committed by an under-18. He makes the point very well—this agrees with the point that I am making—that the necessity of the credibility and integrity of the person being above reproach is such that the test has to be the same as for a chief constable, or indeed any police officer. It is simply not tenable to have it otherwise.

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

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