Labour Uncut has learned that party officials have extended the deadline for applications for Labour candidates hoping to become Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).
Originally, potential candidates had until 17 February (last Friday) to submit applications for the 40 new roles which cover existing force areas. Now, the party is saying that it will “accept applications from interested individuals until the end of February”.
The two-week deadline extension hints at a shortage of potential candidates. One possible reason is that candidates must actually live in the force area they wish to stand in. A panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee is expected to meet in early March to begin shortlisting in each area.
The most high-profile candidate to emerge so far remains John Prescott in Humberside. Last week Labour leader Ed Miliband came close to backing him, saying he was an “unstoppable force and I’m sure he’d be a great police commissioner.” Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair also praised the former deputy prime minister, saying he would do an “extraordinarily good job.”
Sitting MPs hoping to become police commissioners include current Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Tony Lloyd, who is hoping to become Labour’s candidate in Greater Manchester and former Welsh First Minister, Alun Michael, who is hoping to stand in South Wales. By-elections for their Westminster seats will be triggered if either wins.
Perhaps the most closely fought contest will be in Merseyside where two former Labour ministers are set to go head-to-head. Jane Kennedy and Peter Kilfoyle, who both stood down at the last general election, will compete for the Labour nomination.
In South Yorkshire, former Chief Constable Med Hughes has announced he is standing for the Labour nomination – just four months after retiring from the force. He previously claimed politicians were not “of the right calibre” to be police commissioners.
Police and crime commissioners will set strategic priorities for their force, while chief constables will lead on operational matters. Elections will be held on Thursday 15 November, the same day earmarked for elections for any city that chooses to have a directly elected mayor in May’s referendum.