A Conservative-run council in Surrey has been accused of using public resources to boost the campaign of a Tory Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) candidate — by performing public consultation on CCTV cameras at a Conservative campaign event.
Work by council officers to raise awareness of new CCTV cameras in the area took place at an event the “primary purpose” of which was described as promoting Tory PCC candidate Julie Iles. The council denied that any public funds had been used, but a news item about the meeting on their website (now deleted but grabbed by Scrapbook here):
“[The event’s] primary purpose was to introduce the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate to the local community. The decision was made to include an informal sounding out on CCTV concurrently.”
The memory-holed news item didn’t mention any of the other candidates, and all of them have said that they will be complaining to the Electoral Commission over the alleged abuse of power. Even Ms Iles’ own statement seems to suggest she received favouritism from the council:
“… as I had an action day at a clean-up in Stanwell [the council] suggested I pop along to the meeting.”
At time of writing, Surrey is still counting. It’s safe to say that if Ms Iles wins, there will be more questions to come on this topic.
Nick Griffin has thrown in the towel on police commissioner elections after BNP sources claimed that their, erm, “best people” were banned from standing owing to their criminal records. Despite Griffinführer’s attempted to put a brave face on things yesterday, “low turnout” has nothing to do with his decision to quit the race:
According to the far-right monitoring service Extremis Project, BNP officials have claimed the party cannot afford the £100,000 needed to for a decent field of candidates — and that a swathe of their top activists are banned from competing anyway:
“some of our best people cannot stand”
While politicians from the main parties have also fallen foul of the strict rules owing to misdemeanours in their youth (a Labour candidate was forced to quit owing to a £5 fine when he was 13), the BNP operate on a different plane when it comes to criminal records.
Their convicts include:
- Mark Bulman, who used a BNP leaflet as the fuse for a petrol bomb he detonated in a Swindon mosque.
- Convicted gang rapist Robert Bennett co-ordinated leafleting campaigns for the party in Oldham.
- The BNP’s former group leader on Calderdale Council was convicted of four counts of benefit fraud. Richard Mulhall only escaped jail because the relevant legislation had not yet come into force.
- Terry Collins was sentenced to five years in prison for conducting a campaign of terror against Asian families in the coastal town of Eastbourne. He claims he was “brainwashed” by the BNP.
- Huddersfield candidate Karl Hanson, who was arrested and fined £500 for possession of heroin and crack cocaine shortly before he was due to stand in 2005 elections.
- BNP member John Laidlaw had previously claimed he was going to “kill all black people” before going on a shooting spree in north London in 2006.
The BNP are not so much a party of conviction as, errr, a party of convictions.