THE campaign to be Surrey’s first elected Police and Crime Commissioner has sparked into life following the Downing Street ‘Pleb Gate’ scandal.
Labour candidate Robert Evans used his campaign website to call on his Conservative rival Julie Iles to condemn alleged remarks made by the Government chief whip Andrew Mitchell to Downing Street Police.
And Mrs Iles took the opportunity offered by the News & Mail to reply to the gauntlet thrown down by Evans.
Mr Mitchell had been reported to have been stopped from cycling out of Downing Street by police and then to have shouted at an officer: “Best you learn your f***ing place. You don’t run this f***ing
Government” and “you’re f***ing plebs”.
Evans said: “Police officers are just doing their job. No one has the right to abuse officers in this way.
“What sort of example does it set to our young people and other law-abiding citizens?
“In the week when the police suffered the tragic loss of two officers on duty in Manchester, it is appalling that a cabinet member should behave in this arrogant and utterly reprehensible manner.
“It is the behaviour more befitting a hooligan than a senior government minister.
“I am challenging Julie Iles, my Conservative opponent here in Surrey to join me, in condemning Andrew Mitchell’s nasty and disrespectful behaviour.
“If Mrs Iles will not condemn these appalling reports, I think the people of Surrey will make up their own minds about the Conservatives and their LibDem allies.”
Mrs Iles took up the challenge and said: “Andrew Mitchell has reiterated the apology he made last week after the incident.
“He did not show the police the respect he should have done. He has apologised to the police officer involved and the officer has accepted the apology. He is also absolutely clear that he did not use the words that have been attributed to him.”
Despite the fact the full list of candidates for the PCC role will not be announced until October 15, four others have made their interest public.
Surrey Police Authority chairman Peter Williams will run as an independent, as will former commander Kevin Hurley. Robert Shatwell will represent UKIP while the Lib-Dems have selected Nick O’Shea.
The Surrey public will vote in November.