Troubled candidate Mervyn Barrett yesterday pulled out of the race to become Lincolnshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.
His entire campaign team had already resigned following allegations in The Sunday Telegraph that his election bid was being bankrolled by a right-wing US think-tank in favour of police privatisation.
The report claimed he had poured “tens of thousands into the election” – far more than any other candidate in Britain – and employed professional staff, commissioned weekly opinion polls and travelled around in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes.
Mr Barrett insisted he had done nothing wrong in a robust statement published on his website.
Regional TV reported on Tuesday night that Mr Barrett had failed to attend a hustings in Lincoln and a message on his Twitter page said: “Just to confirm that due to unforeseen circumstances I won’t be able to make the #PCC hustings tonight at Lincoln Drill Hall. You go though!”
The deputy returning officer for the police and crime commissioner election, Steve Swain, confirmed that Mr Barrett withdrew from the election yesterday morning.
There was no new statement on Mr Barrett’s website to explain his actions when the Spalding Guardian went to press last night.
Mr Barrett was awarded an OBE for his services over 30 years to crime reduction with the national charity, Nacro.
Following The Sunday Telegraph article, Mr Barrett said he would “take time to reflect on both the reaction to the Telegraph article and also to consider how best I could continue my campaign following the resignation of my campaign director and campaign team”.
He also said he would take legal advice regarding “a number of inaccuracies that the original article contained”.
His statement also said: “I have worked to cut crime and prevent re-offending for my whole adult life. Throughout my career at Nacro, the crime reduction charity, I have always sought to uphold the highest standards of integrity and honesty.”
Four candidates remain in the running for the November 15 election. They are: David Bowles (Independent), Richard Davies (Conservative), Paul Gleeson (Labour) and Alan Hardwick (Independent).