Michael Mates under investigation for alleged racist remark

 

Michael Mates, the former Cabinet minister who is the lead contender to be declared police commissioner for Hampshire tomorrow, is being investigated after the force he wants to supervise received allegations that he used racist language on a Home Office election website.

The 78-year-old Conservative politician has been accused of breaching equality laws by referring to “problems created by gypsies and travellers” on an official website designed to help voters choose their candidate.

Hampshire Police confirmed that it had received two complaints about the use of alleged racist language and had passed them for investigation to the Thames Valley force to avoid any conflict of interest.

Thames Valley Police is already investigating a complaint from one of Mr Mates’s rivals that he broke electoral law in relation to residency requirements for the police and crime commissioner poll.

Mr Mates wrote: “Whether it is rural crime and the problems created by gypsies and travellers... I want to give our residents a far more accountable and efficient police force.”

In a statement, Hampshire Police said: “Hampshire Constabulary can confirm we received two complaints making allegations of racist language on a website ahead of the election for the Police and Crime Commissioner in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.  The allegations were referred to Thames Valley Police to investigate.”

Mr Mates did not respond to requests from The Independent to comment on the allegations.