Revelations that one of Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner candidates is bankrolled by a right-wing US think-tank sparked his entire campaign team to resign at the weekend.
Mervyn Barrett reportedly received thousands of pounds for his campaign from the Fund For the New American Century – an organisation that shares ideas, staff and almost the same name as a neo-Conservative think-tank that is credited with persuading President George W Bush to wage war in Iraq.
The Sunday Telegraph says he has poured “tens of thousands into the elections” – far more than any other British candidate – and employed professional staff, commissioned weekly opinion polls, and travels in a chauffeur driven Mercedes.
His campaign suffered a further blow with fellow candidate David Bowles saying Mr Barrett’s then special adviser, Matthew de Unger Brown, met him last Tuesday – saying Mr Barrett might be willing to withdraw if he could be Mr Bowles’ deputy.
Mr Barrett himself was not present.
Mr Bowles said Mr Barrett could well have skills and experiences gained with the charity, Nacro, but he was not prepared “to have him as a deputy or take any funding”.
In a statement on his website, Mr Barrett says he has done nothing wrong, he is nobody’s puppet and his campaign fully complies with UK law.
He said: “I am not for sale, I never have been for sale and I never will be for sale. If anybody who donated to my campaign thought differently they are sorely mistaken.”
Mr Barrett is due to hold a press conference tomorrow.
l See page 8 for more on the election