It’s hard to argue with Labour’s assessment this morning of the shambles that the elections for police and crime commissioners have turned into. Turnout is being predicted to be as low as 18.5%, according to the Electoral Reform Society, although in Hull where John Prescott is standing it might have reached the dizzy heights of more than 20%
The government has been criticised for not doing enough to promote elections with claims that voters were not given enough information about what they were voting for. Labour says turnout could in some areas be as low as 10%. The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, said elections for the commissioners had descended into a shambles, with many voters taking to Twitter to describe the low turnout at their polling stations.
Cooper, said: ”As the Government’s flagship police reform policy, these Police and Crime Commissioner elections have been a complete shambles. ”We warned the Government repeatedly that they had the wrong approach and that turnout would be low. Theresa May and David Cameron didn’t listen and it is shocking that they have spent £100m on these elections rather than on 3,000 police constables instead.
“The Electoral Reform Society has described the Government’s handling of these elections as a ‘comedy of errors’. Time and again on the doorstep people told us either they didn’t have enough information, didn’t know the elections were happening, didn’t support them or didn’t want to go out in the dark to vote.
“Theresa May and David Cameron need to explain why they have spent so much money on elections that have had such low public support, why they provided so little public information and why they chose to hold elections in November too.”
According to the Guardian, in Wiltshire, the first force area to declare, the overall turnout was 15.8%. That saw Tory candidate Angus Macpherson, a magistrate, win after a second round of voting, ahead of Labour’s Clare Moody. The turnout in Wiltshire saw 81,477 people vote out of a total electorate of 520,000.
However, it says in some parts of the county, the turnout was much lower. In Trowbridge, it was as low as 10.95%, according to unofficial counting, while it was 10.41% in Devizes.
Total turnout in the election for the Greater Manchester police and crime commissioner has been confirmed as 13.5%.
The Electoral Reform Society called the government’s handling of the elections a “comedy of errors”. So much for “the mother of parliaments”.
Meanwhile Labour has held its seats in by-elections in both Manchester Central and Cardiff South and Penarth. Labour is also hopeful of taking Louise Mensch’s seat in Corby — the result is expected at lunchtime.
Fears are turnout again could be a factor. Luckily the Tory campaign manager was backing a rival candidate over his own.
The BBC reports that in the Manchester Central parliamentary by-election, Labour candidate Lucy Powell (11,507) won with a majority of 9,936. Liberal Democrat Marc Ramsbottom (1,571) came second and Conservative Matthew Sephton (754) came in third.
The turnout of 18.16% is believed to be the lowest in a UK parliamentary by-election since World War II.