Police commissioners champion Nick Herbert quits amid reshuffle

 

The champion of the Government's plan to bring in elected police and crime commissioners has quit as David Cameron shakes up his top team.

Nick Herbert, who was a leading force behind the move to give elected individuals the power to hire and fire chief constables and set force budgets, said he was stepping down to focus on "new ideas".

The Tory MP for Arundel and South Downs wrote on Twitter: "Decided to step down from Govt. Honoured to have worked with police & driven big reforms. Will focus on new ideas & protecting countryside."

The Policing and Criminal Justice Minister will be replaced by Damian Green, who is moving from the immigration brief.

Elections for the new police and crime commissioners, who will replace the existing police authorities in 41 areas in England and Wales outside London, will take place on November 15.

But concerns have frequently been raised over the quality of the potential candidates.

A study by the Institute for Government last year said the success of the crime chiefs will "depend heavily" on the right applicants, including independents, standing for election.

But it found the three major parties had taken "few concrete steps" to select candidates in the 41 police force areas.

Home Secretary Theresa May has said she wanted to see more independent candidates run.

She previously highlighted Falklands veteran Simon Weston, who was contemplating the South Wales post, but he pulled out in July saying he was becoming disillusioned and the campaign was "too political".

Last month, a group of independent candidates urged the Government to level the playing field by giving them a free mailshot.

They claimed the polls will be unfairly weighted in favour of political hopefuls backed by parties - and their money - because information is not going to every voter.

But the Home Office has said information about every candidate will be published online and, for everyone who wants it, delivered in written form.

Ann Barnes, who is standing in Kent, said the failure to give candidates a free mailshot to voters was "perverse and undemocratic".

The current system means candidates backed by major political parties will be at an advantage over independents, she said.

The Electoral Commission warned in March that, as a result of the Government's decision, up to seven million people who did not use the internet could be disadvantaged.

Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott, who is standing as a candidate in Hull, described the move as "scandalous".

Mr Herbert also refused to set a level of voter turnout for the November poll that the Government would deem to be a success.

Mr Herbert recently spoke of his frustration that politics gets in the way of change.

"During my two years as a minister, it's been incredibly important to stay focused on the big objectives - delivery, change - and not to allow the crap to get in the way," he told Total Politics magazine in June.

"The Yes Minister parody - there's a hell of a lot of truth in that.

"There's an enormous amount of process that can sap your energy and determination: meetings for meetings' sake, three options offered, two of which you'd have to be a certified lunatic to take because the civil service is determined you should take the first.

"I could go on, but the way through is to remain absolutely focused on the big picture. I'm doing this job because I'm absolutely determined to change things. Sometimes, the politics gets in the way of that."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all