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Tories whittle down shortlist for Sussex Police Commissioner candidate
Six Conservatives are fighting it out to become the party’s candidate in this year’s elections for Sussex Police and crime commissioner.
Peter Jones, Anthony Kimber, George Lee, Colin Field, Paul Dendle and Katy Bourne have been shortlisted to go into two rounds of voting in July.
Party grandees whittled down the numbers from 12 to try to ensure a Conservative takes up the £85,000-a-year post after a public ballot in November.
Directly-elected police and crime commissioners are replacing police authorities up and down the country.
The role carries the power to hire and fire chief constables and set policing priorities for forces.
Peter Jones is the leader of East Sussex County Council, a councillor for Northern Rother and a former Sussex Police Authority member.
Paul Dendle is an Arun district councillor and is the party’s Sussex area chairman.
Colin Field served as High Sheriff of West Sussex between 2007 and 2008.
Katy Bourne is a Mid Sussex district councillor and chairs the Conservative Women’s Organisation.
Anthony Kimber has spent a career in the military, including work in council contingency planning.
George Lee is a former police officer who stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in London in 2010.
The highest-profile Conservative name to be rejected was Worthing borough and county councillor Steve Waight, the current chairman of Sussex Police Authority.
Nicholas Soames MP, who was the leading MP on the committee, said: “Choosing the final six was a difficult task as we had a high calibre of people who applied, any one of whom would have made an excellent police and crime commissioner.”
All six candidates are now expected to take part in a question and answer session with Sussex’s Conservative MPs and representatives of 14 Conservative associations.
Up to four candidates can go through to a final round at The Triangle sports centre in Burgess Hill on July 14.
All party members from Sussex – which could mean as many as 1,000 people – can quiz the remaining contenders from the floor at a closed meeting, before voting for the candidate.
To win, they need more than 50% of the vote.
As the Tories win more votes in Sussex overall in other elections, the Conservative candidate is likely to be the frontrunner in the public elections.
Labour Party members are expected to be asked to vote by post for either Paul Richards, a former Lewes parliamentary candidate, or Godfrey Daniel, a Hastings borough and county councillor.
Neither the Liberal Democrats nor the Greens have confirmed whether they intend to run a candidate.
Brighton street pastor and community activist Ian Chisnall is intending to stand as an independent candidate, as are one-man party Matt Taylor and another independent, Phil Jones.
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