December 11 2013 Latest news:
By John Elworthy , The Editor
Monday, September 3, 2012
AS if the campaign to select their candidate couldn’t get more curious, Cambridgeshire Conservatives learnt tonight that former county council leader Shona Johnstone is back fighting for the party’s nomination.
In a remarkable twist of fortunes Cllr Johnstone- who was acquitted of criminal damages charges last month- has taken the fight for recognition back to the same party members who shortlisted her this summer.
Then, and via a Byzantium voting process, she was eliminated by Cambs Police Authority member John Pye who had been approved as a Tory candidate by Conservative Central Office even though he insisted on remaining an independent.
That compromise formula blew up in the county association’s face last week when Mr Pye dramatically quit (with some sectors of the party openly delighted with his decision) and now the race to secure nomination is back on.
With independent and opposition candidates vying for nomination, the Tory Party has always considered itself the most likely to win but having torn itself asunder through its nomination process voters may not now take so kindly to them.
Cllr Johnstone, opposed by the current leader of the Conservative group of Cambridgeshire County Council Nick Clarke, will hope to ignite popular grassroots support to boost support.
Her re-launched campaign was announced in a series of Tweets this afternoon, the first setting out her manifesto.
She later noted that the tweet “required a very deep breath first…”
Her manifesto promises to keep costs down, respond to local needs, making prevention of crime a priority and putting victims first.
“I want people to be proud and confident in the Cambridgeshire police service and ensure that it is responsive to their needs first,” she said.
“I have 20 years of experience in running large organisations, leading Cambridgeshire County Council and running its children’s services. I will commit all my energies to this role – this will be my only job.
“I have been a councillor for many years, visible in the community and experienced in being a voice for my community, responding to local concerns.
“The Police and Crime Plan I will produce will be the communities plan – reflecting their priorities and recognising that what is important in Peterborough will be different in St Neots, Soham or Sawston.
“For that reason, I will seek to appoint a deputy from the Peterborough area.
“My experience is more than just managing big budgets, getting things done and working with others.
“I am also a parent with children in local schools and colleges, who believes in ‘tough love’. I was brought up in a single parent household on low income and I am passionate about enabling others to have the same chances I did.
“I empathise with the fear of crime and the impact that it has on peoples’ lives so preventing crime will be a priority. I know that early intervention and intensive support can make a real difference to vulnerable young people and is vital to stop them from spiralling out of control and into a life of crime.”