David Hanson MP, Labour’s Shadow Policing Minister, responding to the Electoral Commission criticism of the Government pursuing TV and radio police and crime commissioner advertising funded and produced by the Home Office, said:
“The Electoral Commission are producing public awareness materials as an independent and impartial body, while the Home Office has refused to fund a mailing for each candidate and instead will produce further TV adverts plugging Government policy.
“As the Electoral Commission notes, this is a ‘significant departure’ from usual practice and could raise questions of neutrality and public confidence in these elections. Will taxpayer-funded, Home Office adverts mention the biggest cuts to police numbers in a generation, the huge financial pressures forces are under, or the criticism of the Police and Crime Commissioners policy? Of course they won’t. Instead they will promote Police and Crime Commissioners as the answer to the awful mess Theresa May and the Home Office have caused.
“We have been very clear that candidates should have been offered help in communicating their policies to voters, and are in favour of public awareness measures from independent bodies.
“The Home Office, if it wants to fund TV adverts, should allocate the funding to the Electoral Commission instead, or give candidates of all parties the opportunity to communicate to their local communities. Nick Herbert has resigned before his vanity project has begun, yet the waste of time and money continues.”