Conservative candidate blunder set to cost over £1m

It is going to cost over £1 million to run a new election for the Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) due to the Conservative candidate winning the most votes but also being disqualified from holding the post.

Despite the nomination paperwork making clear the responsibility on candidates to check that they are not disqualified from being an elected PCC, the winning Conservative candidate, Jonathon Seed, is disqualified as he has a conviction.

Returning officer Terence Herbert is now seeking legal advice and will set out the process for a fresh election…

Mr Herbert said “Given this unprecedented situation and given the circumstances, I will be seeking legal advice on the next steps and at that point I will be able to make any statements necessary about the position.

“If the post of the PCC is vacant, if someone is disqualified or does not sign the declaration, then the post will be defined as vacant and an election will be called.” [BBC]

Liberal Democrat Liz Webster finished second in the election, getting through to the final round against Jonathan Seed. You can support her campaign over the consequences of this fiasco here.

UPDATE: Former Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate charged by police.

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9 responses to “Conservative candidate blunder set to cost over £1m”

  1. The BBC story you link to does not mention the Liberal Democrat candidate Liz Wheeler. It lists all the other candidates and their first-preference votes, but no mention of her or the LibDems at all.

  2. According to ITV this was known about 8 DAYS before the election.It was kept quiet (presumably to allow him to win AND get away with it). The taxpayer should not pay for the 2nd attempt after all it was a Conservative party responsibility to vet their candidates.

  3. The Conservative Party should pay for this. Whatever way you look at it, they are responsible (unless, of course, the individual concerned consulted with the election authorities beforehand mentioning his conviction but was simply poorly advised). I certainly don’t see why the tax payers of the district should pay or whoever may be responsible for the running of elections.

  4. The Agent should pay as they are meant to have advised but if it was previously mentioned at Con selection meetings then the Con(vict) party should pay.

    I thought being a crook was almost a prerequisite of being a Tory – although I suppose they prefer them not to have been caught.

  5. I’m not sure I see any reason for a re-run: why not simply eliminate the Conservative candidate and re-count the remaining valid ballots? I don’t see any reason why the Conservatives should have a second crack at winning the position, having messed up the first time around.

  6. I agree with Paul Webb – why do they need to spend the money when they have already run the election. If the person coming first is eliminated it should go to the person coming second. The Conservative party should also be fined at least 10% of the cost ie £100,000 for failing to vet their candidate.
    Hamish Stewart East Riding Liberal Democrats.

    • Agree the disreputable Tory should be eliminated and the candidate who came second declared the winner otherwise a disgusting waste of public money which could and should be used for other purposes.

    • As a Wiltshire resident, I also agree with Paul Webb, but is there a mechanism to do so? Would it require, say, an Early Day Motion? If the Tories don’t go along with this, they deserve the opprobrium that will be heaped on them.

      We have a great candidate in Liz Webster; she deserves to take up the post without having to go through another election which would probably be far more favourable to her.

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