Tory canididate move hints at low expectations for crime elections
GWENT Tories are to run a paper candidate in the police and crime commissioner elections amid concerns among members that it is an unwinnable fight for the party.
The Argus understands from a senior source locally that a compromise with Tory bosses in London has been reached so a Conservative candidate can be fielded for the November election in Gwent.
The source said the party has agreed to pay for a loan so the Tories can pay the £5000 deposit required, which a meeting of senior Gwent Tories has accepted.
The meeting agreed to nominate a paper candidate. Such candidates are fielded where parties believe they have little chance of winning, and usually will do little campaining to win the election.
However it is thought there's little appetite for a campaign with the candidate's name unlikely to be filed with election authorities until a few days or a week before the deadline on October 19, according to the source.
However Monmouth MP David Davies said Conservatives will fight very hard for every vote.
Mr Davies said: "It was a confidential meeting and I am not going to make any comment on it.
"We are confident we will have a candidate in place."
We previously reported that local Tories had asked Conservatives in London if they can avoid taking part in the race, reflecting a belief that the electoral make-up of the region would make it difficult to win.
However the UK party wants to field a candidate in every force area.
Conservative Campaign Headquarters was asked for a comment but did not respond before going to press.
There are three prospective candidates known to be running for Gwent police and crime commissioner elections - former policemen Ian Johnston and Chris Wright and Labour candidate Hamish Sandison.
Probe into web comments
A MAN running to be Gwent police and crime commissioner is meeting a top officer after the force opened an inquiry into comments on a social media site.
Chris Wright, a former policeman, said a police officer is subject to a disciplinary investigation after wishing him well in his campaign on his Facebook page.
He said on his Twitter feed: “Why are Gwent [Police] spying on me?”
A Gwent Police spokesman confirmed the professional standards department is making inquiries after it received information alleging a police constable made “an inappropriate comment” in relation to the forthcoming police and crime commissioner (PCC) election.
Mr Wright told the Argus he is meeting Deputy Chief Constable Jeff Farrar over the issue today. He said: “I can’t believe that Gwent Police have obviously started monitoring my website.”
A police spokesman said the force received the information from an external source and does not routinely monitor staff use of social media, but if concerns were raised about an officer’s use it would view the content.
He added PCC staff in the transition team occasionally view publicly available websites and social media profiles of prospective PCC candidates to better understand “any issue or themes which are emerging”.
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