Labour MP uses Commons privilege to accuse Tory police commissioner of stealing from ex-employer

‘Allegation is untrue’ says Cleveland police boss

Zaina Alibhai
Tuesday 21 September 2021 01:35

A Labour MP has used parliamentary privilege to claim a Conservative police and crime commissioner got sacked for stealing from his previous employer.

Andy McDonald accused Steve Turner, the police and crime commissioner for Cleveland, of “systematic theft of merchandise” from former employer, Safeway supermarket.

During a House of Commons debate linked to the Elections Bill, the MP for Middlesborough called for Mr Turner to resign claiming his position was now “untenable”.

Parliamentary privilege enables MPs to make statements in the House of Commons without fear of being sued.

Intervening on shadow cabinet office minister Cat Smith, Mr McDonald said: "On the topic of police and crime commissioner elections, is she as staggered as I am to learn that the Conservative Party’s PCC for Cleveland, Steve Turner, who was elected earlier this year, was in fact sacked in the early 2000s for systematic theft of merchandise from his then employer, Safeway supermarket, at their Norton store?

"Does she agree with me that it’s totally untenable for someone who is engaged in such criminal behaviour to hold the position of PCC and he must resign from his role with immediate effect?"

Ms Smith replied: "I am as staggered as my honourable friend to learn that the Conservative Party’s police and crime commissioner for Cleveland was sacked for theft from a Safeway supermarket.

"And I’d certainly agree with him that it is totally untenable for a criminal to hold the position of police and crime commissioner, and that if what my honourable friend has shared with the House is true then I would expect a resignation and a by-election for that police and crime commissioner with immediate effect."

In a statement, Mr Turner said: "This is an appalling use of parliamentary privilege and I will be calling on Mr McDonald to retract his unsubstantiated allegations."

In another statement reported in the Northern Echo newspaper, he added: “The allegation he made is untrue, if he is willing to make it outside of the chamber the matter can be resolved in a libel court.”

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