Police job race unfair, PM told
A man who hopes to become elected police and crime commissioner has written to David Cameron to warn that independent candidates are being frozen out.
The Government's decision to not pay for a general mailshot of candidates' details and manifestos to every household will hand the advantage to the rich political parties, Suleman Nagdi warned the Prime Minister.
Mr Nagdi, a businessman and community worker who is the only independent so far on the ballot paper in Leicestershire for the November 15 poll, wrote the open letter to the PM yesterday.
The cost of sending election material to every household in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland has been estimated to be £80,000.
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Mr Nagdi said: "I am standing on a platform which argues that party politics must have no part in policing, yet even before the election my party political opponents have been given an advantage.
"I believe it is significant that across England and Wales only independent candidates are calling for a free mail-shot.
"This is not an issue of expense – local authorities send out reams of information leaflets and other material to householders.
"All that would be required here is one document setting out the manifesto of each candidate.
"As I have said in my letter to the Prime Minister, it is not too late for him to remedy the situation."
Businessman and magistrate Rick Moore had indicated his intention to stand but withdrew after he calculated the cost of sending a letter and his manifesto to every household would be about £80,000.
A Home Office spokesman said the Government wanted to control the cost of the nationwide elections – understood to be about £50 million. He said: "There will be a dedicated website where all candidates will be able to post information.
"For those who do not have access to the internet, there will also be a telephone helpline which people will be able to ring and all the information will be sent to them.
"Information on how to obtain candidates' details will also be on polling cards when they are sent out and on Home Office and Electoral Commission documents."
A radio and TV advertising campaign is being prepared.
The Home Office believes commissioners – who will be scrutinised by an appointed panel – will be more accountable to the public.
The Electoral Reform Society last week suggested 18.5 per cent of people nationwide would vote. It also said the decision to not pay for a mailshot would disadvantage independent candidates.
The other candidates so far are Labour's Sarah Russell and retired Air Chief Marshal Sir Clive Loader for the Tories.