28 Aug 2012

How Theresa May met Simon Weston

A nice little scoop from Sam Chapman and his Top of the Cops website.

He’s discovered, from a Freedom of Information request, that the home secretary held a meeting with the Falklands war hero Simon Weston on 31 January.  This was just nine days before Weston launched his campaign, through an announcement in The Sun on 9 February that he was running as an independent candidate for police commissioner in South Wales. Chapman’s revelation raises various questions.  First, was Simon Weston genuinely going to be an independent candidate, or was he really a proxy Conservative, put up to it by the home secretary to stand in an area where no Tory could hope to get elected?  While Weston has never been a Conservative member, he has had several links to the party in the past.  And, as Chapman points out, Weston had his meeting with May just as Central Office was starting to realise how disappointing the response was for Conservatives of calibre to put themselves forward.

This summer Weston abandoned his campaign, on the grounds that the contest had become “too political”, though I believe the main reason was he realised he would be disqualified anyway, because of his teenage conviction of being caught in a stolen car.

Weston several times expressed confidence to me that this would not be a bar to him standing, and it would be interesting to know if his confidence was based on his discussions with May at their January meeting.  Did she reassure him that it would not be a problem, which was the gist of what she later told me at a Press Gallery lunch. That opinion turned out to be horribly wrong.

In other words, did Simon Weston launch his campaign on this basis of duff advice and assurances from Theresa May?

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