Last week saw the ridiculous case of Bob Ashford, which was them further compunded by the baffling and equally ridiculous case of Alan Charles. Both men – excellent candidates to be amongst the first Police and Crime Commissioners – were forced to stand down after it became clear that “crimes” commited half a century ago would could against them.
Finally today there has been an outbreak of common sense – Alan Charles has been reinstated as Labour’s candidate in Derbyshire, after it became clear that he is, in fact, eligable to stand (I said it was common sense. I didn’t say it was the end of the farce). Thanks are certainly owed to everyone who battled both in public and behind the scenes on Alan’s behalf. A party spokesperson said today:
“Due to a distinct lack of clarity from the Home Office we have sought further legal advice on behalf of Alan Charles, and it has become clear that he is eligible to become a Police and Crime Commissioner candidate.
“Therefore, Alan Charles is Labour candidate for PCC in Derbyshire, continuing Labour’s campaign against the Tory-led Government’s huge cuts to the police and reckless changes on crime and community safety.
“The Labour Party has written to the Home Office calling for them to urgently provide more information and much greater clarity on the interpretation of their legislation for all involved in these elections. Currently the Home Office appears to be embarrassed by their own law.”
Sadly it seems that there will be no such reprieve for Bob Ashford – but even if there could be, the Labour Party hurriedly replaced him as candidate whilst the anger and incomprehsnsion at Bob’s resignation was still sinking in.
The PCC elections are beginning to look more and more of a mess with each passing day. Today the Police Minister couldn’t/wouldn’t even say what a satisfactory turnout in November’s elections could be – presumably because the number he probably has in mind would be tiny to avoid ridicule, and even then it might not be met.
But at least Alan is allowed to stand. That’s a positive at least, in an election which is going from bad, to farce…