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‘Toxic’ Politics Forced Tory Chirico to Quit as PCC Candidate

Published on: 22 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 25 Jan, 2021

Charlie Chirico’s campaign website – now taken down

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

The former Conservative candidate to be Surrey’s next police and crime commissioner has cited a “toxic” political environment as a reason for her decision to quit.

In a video on Twitter, criminal lawyer Charlie Chirico said her inner circle worked against her rather than with her, and at times it felt like “an old gentleman’s club”.

Charlie Chirico Tweet

She said though this was her experience of Surrey, she had had positive experiences with many associations in London.

Ms Chirico, based in Wimbledon, beat the incumbent police and crime commissioner (PCC) David Munro in the Conservative selection process in 2019.

The election was due in less than four months, a year later than planned due to Covid-19.

But with talk of postponing the poll again, the prospect of further delay was also difficult for Ms Chirico.

“To put my life on hold as a 34-year-old woman without an endless bank balance, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic, in addition for a job I may or may not get at the end of it, has been incredibly difficult,” she said in the video uploaded on Thursday (January 21).

A video on my resignation & some questions answered…thanks to the genuine people who supported me Charlotte (Charlie) Chirico (@CharChirico)

“The political reasons are more complex. I found the environment in Surrey quite toxic.”

Ms Chirico, who has served as a Merton councillor and Conservative parliamentary

David Munro

PCC Munro, elected as a Conservative in 2016, has served as an independent since being deselected and ousted from the party and will stand again in the forthcoming election.

He said of Ms Chirico’s decision: “With less than four months to go after having been selected two years ago, the timing was very odd.

“She was in the final straight. I guess she didn’t think she would win.”

PCC Munro said her mention of a “toxic” environment surprised him. “I had a very good relationship over 20 years with the 11 constituency parties, so something obviously went badly wrong,” he said.

“I feel rather sorry for her. She played a straight bat as far as I was concerned.”

Ms Chirico said she had no individual in mind to replace her, and cited integrity and trustworthiness as the most important attributes of the next candidate.

She said: “If someone isn’t trustworthy within an inner circle, then they’re highly unlikely to be trustworthy as the prospective PCC for Surrey on a day-to-day basis.”

See more PCC stories here

Mr Munro has already told The Dragon that in in the “extremely unlikely” event he was asked back by the Conservatives as they look for someone to take her place, his answer would be no.

He said: “I relish the role of Independent and it clearly resonates with residents who have repeatedly told me they don’t want party politics anywhere near the police.”

He expected the May election to be delayed and acknowledged a “democratic deficit”, adding: “It is unprecedented. People elected me for four years, not five and counting. Someone needs their mandate confirmed quite soon.”

Surrey Conservative Group declined to comment.

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test 2 Responses to ‘Toxic’ Politics Forced Tory Chirico to Quit as PCC Candidate

  1. Jacob Allen Reply

    January 22, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    Putting political party disagreements aside, it’s a sad indictment of the Conservatives in Surrey that one of the few female/young PCC candidates in the country felt she had to stand aside due to the “toxic” environment. Hardly surprising though.

    Jacob Allen is a Labour Party activist.

    • Dave Allen Reply

      January 23, 2021 at 1:22 pm

      She didn’t drop out for the reasons she claimed. She dropped out because she didn’t have a job, she had to stop being a CPS lawyer due to running for political office, but due to the delays in the election she had to drop out.

      It is the second time she dropped out. The truth is she should never have got the nomination in the first place. She doesn’t even live in Surrey and has never lived here, she was only interested in using the PCC role as a stepping stone to being selected for a safe Conservative seat at the next General Election.

      She is claiming a toxic environment but I don’t believe it. It came clear early on that her selected deputy was far more qualified than her and she was way out of her depth trying to push WOKE policies when they have no place in protecting vulnerable victims.

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