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Tory PCC Candidate Claims Personal Connections in Home Office

Published on: 24 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 25 Apr, 2021

Lisa Townsend (Conservative)

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

The Conservative candidate for police and crime commissioner has been slammed by the four other nominees for suggesting she alone would have privileged access to the Tory government.

In hustings hosted by BBC Radio Surrey on April 22, Lisa Townsend twice named Home Secretary Priti Patel and Kit Malthouse, minister for crime and policing, a debate that exposed the complicated history between the Conservative Party and Surrey’s PCCs.

David Munro (Independent)

But Independent incumbent David Munro said that was an insult to Mr Malthouse who was immune to “Tory sleaze and cronyism”.

Ms Townsend, asked if the government had failed to fund the police properly, said she would be fighting for “far more than Surrey’s fair share of officers”.

She added: “Of course, that is the advantage of being a Conservative in this role, being able to work very closely with Kit and Priti, both of whom I know and I’ve worked with before and who have both promised to work with me.”

Kevin Hurley (Zero Tolerance Policing Ex-Chief )

Kevin Hurley, the Zero Tolerance Policing Ex-Chief candidate, said Surrey received “the lowest government grant in the country” and he did not believe Ms Townsend could change that.

She replied: “I spoke to Kit Malthouse earlier this week and he has promised a change in the funding formula during the lifetime of this parliament and I think that’s really important.

“And of course I’m the only candidate who, if I win, will actually be able to talk to Kit and Priti.

“Good luck to all the other candidates, but I am clearly the only candidate who will actually be able to walk into the Home Office and have these conversations and fight for Surrey and Surrey victims.”

Paul Kennedy (Lib Dem)

Mr Hurley, who was Surrey’s first PCC in 2012, said: “I’m not going to let Lisa get away with that BS, that she can walk through the corridors of power and get a fair hearing.

“I can assure you, that when I was the police and crime commissioner, I was up and down at the Home Office all the time.”

Mr Munro added: “Lisa, you’re doing a very honourable policing minister, Kit Malthouse down. He is not open to Tory sleaze, he is absolutely straight.

Howard Kaye (Labour) Photo Andrew Wiard

“He will recommend police funding on the evidence, not on cronyism. And I’ve already started to gather that evidence to persuade him and his colleagues actually to get it right, because they’ve done Surrey down.”

When challenged on the Surrey Police low clear-up rate, Mr Munro blamed central government cuts, admitting: “Too many criminals are getting away with it.

“It’s not a failure of Surrey Police, because they’ve been trying really hard over the past few years with diminishing resources.

“Let’s not forget that 30 per cent of government funding has been cut in the past 10 years. I’ve given Surrey Police every scrap of resources I possibly can.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Kennedy said there was “unhappiness” about the decision to increase council tax and said he would prioritise improving Surrey Police’s efficiency.

Mr Munro said: “There haven’t up until now been enough police; now there are going to be. They’re not all there on the streets yet, it takes time to train them, but they will be.”

Mr Hurley said: “Shame on the Conservative government for what they’ve done to Surrey Police. [They are] haemorrhaging skilled people out of the force as a direct result of the Conservative cuts.”

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test 3 Responses to Tory PCC Candidate Claims Personal Connections in Home Office

  1. Adam Aaronson Reply

    April 24, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    “I spoke to Kit Malthouse earlier this week and he has promised a change in the funding formula during the lifetime of this parliament and I think that’s really important”.

    In a week when we learn more and more about “government by text” and its sleazy connotations, I think that Mr Malthouse should publicly guarantee that this change in the funding formula will go ahead, whichever candidate is elected.

    Perhaps this article should receive a wider circulation as Lisa Armstrong seems to be spilling the beans on how the Home Office now works. It may interest PCCs around the country who are not Conservatives who may be having difficulty in getting sufficient attention.

  2. Paul Kennedy Reply

    April 25, 2021 at 10:51 am

    The Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner has spent most of her career working not with but FOR Conservative MPs, and that is the true nature of the ‘special relationship’ with Priti Patel and Home Office Ministers that she is now trying to sell to Surrey residents.

    “Independent” candidate David Munro was Conservative PCC from 2016 until he lost the nomination in 2019 and he got nothing from Ministers for Surrey – with little to show for his term but a 30% increase in his council tax precept, a “requires improvement” rating for efficiency, and a shocking record on solving crime and getting justice for vulnerable victims.

    Experience shows that Ministers take Surrey Conservatives for granted, preferring to support “red wall” seats in the North instead. What we need from our PCC is Lib Dem professionalism, not more Tory cronyism.

    Paul Kennedy id the Lib Dem candidate in the Surrey PCC election.

  3. J Holt Reply

    April 25, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    What we need, to take a phrase from [Lib Dem] Paul Kennedy, is a PCC who has nothing to do with political parties.

    It is a disgrace that the electorate seems increasingly to reject Independents and votes for political control of policing. In what kind of country do these voters wish to live?

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