15 Nov 2011

Lib Dems will not fight police commissioner elections

The latest edition of the excellent Liberator magazine – voicepiece of trouble-making grassroots Lib Dems – has several interesting stories about discontent within the ranks of Nick Clegg’s party.

Perhaps the most important concerns a recent and pretty much unreported decision by the Lib Dem federal executive effectively not to run party candidates in next year’s elections for police commissioners in England and Wales. This is largely because the party hasn’t got enough money.

Local Lib Dems aren’t banned from running candidates, but they won’t get any central fuding if they do so. Instead the Lib Dems may back any suitable independents who come forward. Many activists aren’t very happy about that.

The Lib Dems are not the only bi party with problems. Both Labour and the Conservatives are suddenly facing up to the prospect of fighting elections in vast new constituencies at a time – next October – when no other elections are taking place.

Labour HAS decided to go ahead with selecting candidates, but with little speed, enthusiasm or money. The Conservatives – whose policy it was – seem to be acting even more slowly in deciding what to handle these contests.

I keep asking Labour and Tory people whether anyone is interested in fighting for these jobs, and no names are mentioned – apart from Col Tim Collins, who came forward a few weeks ago, and may end up being the Tory contender in Kent.

The overall national outcome could be pretty unsatisfactory for those who’ve long backed the idea of police commissioners (including David Cameron, an early champion of the idea).

We are heading for lists of very mediocre candidates, fighting almost invisible campaigns, and getting elected on extremely low turnouts. With the possibility of a few rich pickings for UKIP.

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5 reader comments

  1. Ciaran Rehill says:

    We saw 3500+ new “laws” under ZaNuLabour 1997-2010 and then the Tories pledged to bring in a Protection of freedom bill (it is now denuded of any real repeals). Poor Liberals are the sole party to care about such tiresome human rights as having 2 million innocent folks DNA samples on file but with Clegg are unelectable.

  2. Nathan says:

    Elections not in October but on November 15.2012 – even more reason to worry about turn out…. the last late autumn poll (Oct 24.2010) for a Directly elected Mayor (Tower Hamlets) mustered just 25% turnout!

  3. JonSHarvey says:


    An article I wrote on what might appear in PCC manifestos. It is certainly my hope that I will not have to choose from a list of mediocre candidates in Thames Valley!

  4. Gareth Hartwell says:

    Why are we assuming that its up to the politica parties to field candidates? The parties are private bodies run by their members and they have no public obligation to do anything they dont want to.

    If the public go on smearing all politicians with the same brush so that the parties have fewer members and less money, they will find that the parties put up candidates in fewer and fewer elections and other institutions and individuals will have to fight for office if they want to keep the extremists out.

    P.S. The main reason that Lib Dems arent interested in the elections (and cant raise the money for them) is because their members dont want elected Commissioners.

  5. chrisjourno says:

    If parties do not put forward candidates then how many real people-not carpetbaggers after the 100k and the power,will put up 5,000 deposit?
    Taxpayers Alliance-BNP-or bankrolled candidates-celebrities or well off?
    I’d love to stand-but I’m an ordinary working bloke and yes it would be nice to speculate but the cost of leaflets,posters etc;time off work I am not the type of person they want

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