Row as Nick Clegg accused of ‘hypocrisy’ over no show in police and crime commissioner election

John Hesketh
John Hesketh
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A former Liberal Democrat councillor has accused the party of a ‘new low in hypocrisy’ after it did not put forward a candidate for the police and crime commissioner’s job.

There are four men in the running to replace Shaun Wright, who stood down in the wake of the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal - but none are from Nick Clegg’s party.

The Deputy PM said the role was a ‘failed experiment’ which his party did not want to prop up.

But John Hesketh, a former cabinet member in Sheffield who has now left the party, said the Lib Dems had always embraced localism and had not put forward a PCC hopeful because they were afraid of a bad election result.

He added: “The Lib Dem failure to field a candidate is a disgrace and a new low in hypocrisy.

“The real reason is that Nick Clegg and the local Lib Dems have lost their bottle.

“They’ve chickened out of this month’s PPC election in South Yorkshire because they know they’ll get a drubbing at the ballot box.”

A spokesman for Nick Clegg said: “After the debacle involving Shaun Wright it’s a surprise that anyone thinks the Conservatives’ PCCs are a good idea.

“Liberal Democrats believe they are a failed experiment and the posts should be abolished. We are not standing a candidate.

“It would be slightly odd for us to say on the one hand this experiment has failed, and on the other to say we’re going to compete in an experiment we think has failed.

“At the last by-election for a PCC nine out of ten people didn’t bother to vote.

“That is hardly localism in action.

“But if Mr Hesketh thinks the posts are such a great idea he should have stood for the position himself.”