Wiltshire PCC election may be re-run after winning candidate withdraws over historic conviction

 Jonathon Seed and Boris Johnson
Jonathon Seed (pictured with Prime Minister Boris Johnson) officially withdrew from the election on Sunday. Credit: Jonathon Seed's PCC campaign

The Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner election may need to be re-run after the winner withdrew because of an historic driving conviction.

Conservative Party candidate Jonathon Seed received 40% of the vote in the first round and was elected after the second ballot was counted, but he will not able to take up the post.

The election's returning officer, Terence Herbert, made a statement after the official result was declared on Monday saying that he would be considering the "next steps".

Mr Herbert said: "The election has been called and Jonathon Seed has been duly elected.

"If the post of the PCC is vacant, if someone is disqualified or does not sign the declaration, then the post will be defined as vacant and an election will be called."

Mr Seed was disbarred after a 30-year-old driving offence had come to light following an investigation.

Jonathon Seed's campaign leaflet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Credit: ITV News.

In a statement on Sunday Mr Seed, who had been hoping to succeed departing Conservative Angus Macpherson in the role, insisted he had declared his conviction to the party in his application.

"To the best of my knowledge and belief when I applied for, and became, the police and crime commissioner candidate for the Conservative Party in Wiltshire and Swindon, I was an eligible candidate," he said.

"I have declared my 30-year-old driving conviction to the party in my applications both to be a parliamentary candidate and more recently a PCC candidate.

"Party officials confirmed my belief that my offence did not disqualify me. I have now been advised that this is not the case, and that I am disqualified as a PCC candidate. I have therefore withdrawn."

He added that he would be "bitterly disappointed" to not be taking up the position after winning 100,003 votes.

An image from Jonathon Seed's campaign showed him with Home Secretary Priti Patel Credit: Jonathon Seed's PCC campaign

Official Electoral Commission guidance says PCC candidates cannot stand for election if they have been convicted of an offence that is punishable with a prison sentence.

Liberal Democrat candidate Liz Webster, who came second after securing 27% of the final vote said: "It's going to cost the taxpayer £1.4 million to re-run the election, and there will obviously have to be a further police inquiry."

Ms Webster continued to say that the potential re-running of the election was an "absolute disgrace".

Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard also posted a statement on Twitter, saying that the county would remain unaffected.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) said: "While this situation is unprecedented, there is legislation in place for this eventuality and due process will be followed.

"Angus Macpherson remains as police and crime commissioner until Thursday.

"The OPCC will be working closely with Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council and the Police and Crime Panel, once confirmed, to ensure any following legal process is handled as effectively and efficiently as possible."

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