After yesterday's publication of the list of candidates who had declared they had no reason to be worried about a criminal record keeping them out of the race, there have been a few more entries.
The first is a surprise to some – Alan Charles, who has been reinstated as Labour candidate for Derbyshire after receiving advice that his teenage conditional discharge 47 years ago didn't count as a conviction after all. TopOfTheCops readers won't be surprised at this – it's what we told you last Friday when he announced he was standing down. In fact, it's what I emailed him when I heard, though I still haven't had a response. So, no actual declaration to me, but I'm going to count his reinstatement as a declaration, given that he's clearly aware of the law, has checked his compliance, and now thinks he can stand.
He blames the Tory government, which I've questionned. Let's be clear, the Home Office hasn't covered itself in glory on this one, but I still contend that a basic thing to do before applying for a job is to see whether you are qualified, and any brushes with the law should be considered, not least for political reasons. Some folk in Derbyshire are no doubt wondering why they haven't yet been told what Mr Charles's 12 month conditional discharge is for, and why this detail has been kept from them.
Another curiosity was the group of Independent candidates who, refusing to pay the price of a stamp, took a letter to Downing Street complaining about the lack of a mailshot for candidates in the PCC election. I'm with them on the issue, though my preference was for inclusion of Candidate Statements in the booklet from the Electoral Commission which will be going through every door anyway. What I don't understand is why the protest is being made now, in August, when the Olympics has finally left the news and the media get desperate for stories, but more importantly when it's too late to change the arrangements. It would have been better to protest on say 13 March, 5 months ago, when TopOfTheCops first published a view on this issue, supporting concerns already expressed by the Electoral Commission. Perhaps some of the candidates did object then, but by giving us this piece of political theatre yesterday, when the only point is the publicity it secures, it raises the question of whether the new politics is any different from the old politics – a triumph of style over substance.
The demo revealed one new candidate – ex-cop Kevin Hurley, standing as an Independent in Surrey, who immediately provided reassurances on his eligibility to stand, and therefore joins our list. For people like me he looks like he will be fun.
Other new members of the list of candidates who have declared their relative innocence are:-
Kent – Independent Dai Liyanage
Leicestershire – Independent Suleman Nagdi
Surrey – Independent Peter Williams
Warwickshire – Conservative Fraser Pithie
West Midlands – Independent Cath Hannon
So that's 40 candidates who have made a declaration now.