Jonathon Seed isn’t getting on very well. After huge public scrutiny from animal activists across the country regarding his lack of suitability for a PCC role due to his heavy hunting links, he has now been disbarred from the election due to a drink driving conviction he or the Conservative party failed to declare prior to the election, which now disqualifies him.
Mainstream and local press have continuously failed to pick up on the huge conflict of interest Seeds hunting affiliation offered, but instead have now reported on his disbarring due to the drink driving conviction and still failed to touch on the elephant in the room- his links to wildlife crime.
Since the announcement of his disqualification, we have learned that he did in fact win the election, as expected. The results of the first count in the Wiltshire and Swindon Police & Crime Commissioner elections are as follows:
Jonathon Seed - Conservative (84,885)
Liz Webster - Liberal Democrats (35,013)
Junab Ali - Labour (34,147)
Mike Rees - Independent (31,722)
Brig Oubridge - Green Party (16,606)
Julian Malins QC - Reform UK (4,348)
It provides some level of comfort that he is therefore not going to be taking this position, we feel this is a slight win for wildlife that would have no doubt been at further risk under his reign.
Fellow election candidates have come out to publicly condemn Seed since the news. Seed commented on his disbarring;
“To the best of my knowledge and belief when I applied for, and became, the police and crime commissioner candidate for the Conservative party in Wiltshire and Swindon, I was an eligible candidate”.
Candidates called for a full police investigation into the incident and what took place, as it has been made clear that if Seed had in fact informed his party as he claimed, then there has been some element of wrongdoing.
Other candidates are understandably displeased; they have put ‘a year and a half’ into their campaigns and the election process has now potentially been nullified with a re-election looming. As independent candidate Mike Rees states ‘Seed has made a complete farce of the process – where candidates must pay £5,000 to run.’ Rees rightly asks why the taxpayer should be expected to fork out the money for another election when it’s clear who should be paying. The re-election is estimated to cost at least £1m.
Liz Webster, Liberal Democrat candidate, hints that the Conservative Party potentially suppressed their knowledge of Seeds conviction to ensure they didn’t lose votes or the faith of their voters;
“If it was before Thursday, why didn’t they say anything before? Because that would have allowed the voters to make an informed decision and we may not have had to re-run the election.” (Wiltshire Times)
Labour candidate Junab Ali makes it clear whoever is responsible for the disruption to the election should be responsible for paying for a re-election, including each candidates fee, a view shared by all candidates and no doubt taxpayers. Green candidate Brig Oubridge claims ‘it’s fairly clear what’s happened’.
Wiltshire Police force have now asked Thames Valley Police to launch an external independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner election. They say they ‘have asked another police force to lead on this work to ensure independent oversight and to remove any potential conflict of interest’.
We will wait to see what the findings of the investigation might be.