A dramatic twist ahead of the count for Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner:
A candidate running to be Wiltshire’s next Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has been disbarred after a historical driving offence emerged.
Jonathon Seed was the Conservative Party’s candidate to replace fellow Tory Angus Macpherson.
A party spokesperson confirmed Mr Seed had been disbarred, while Mr Seed told the BBC he had withdrawn himself.
Vote counting for the PCC post is due to start in Salisbury at 10:00 GMT on Monday and is set to go ahead.
If Mr Seed wins the vote, another election will need to be held. [BBC]
Strictly speaking, he can’t withdraw or be removed from the contest at this stage. But if Steed wins the vote at Monday’s count, he can decline to sign to accept the office. That would then trigger a new election.
There’s also a question for the police, as the law may have been broken over Seed’s nomination papers. They required him to sign that he was not disqualified from holding office.
From some media reports, it sounds like his defence would be ‘but a Conservative official told me it was ok’. In some previous cases, the authorities have – rightly – looked kindly on people who made a mistake in good faith. But given what the law says, this is something that at the very least should be properly investigated.
As the official paperwork for candidates says:
Complete all the details on the form and read the declaration carefully. Make sure that you read the Electoral Commission guidance on standing for election as well as the legislation listed. If you are not sure if you are able to stand you should contact your employer (where relevant), consult the legislation or, if necessary, take your own independent legal advice. If you are satisfied that you meet all of the criteria listed and so are eligible to stand, sign the declaration.
and candidates are required to sign that:
I am aware of the provisions of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and to the best of my knowledge and belief I am not disqualified from election as Police and Crime Commissioner.
ITV had been on this story for a few days, with Jonathon Seed refusing to respond to them: