The inside story of how former MP Stewart Jackson failed- by the narrowest of margins - to win his party’s backing for police and crime commissioner
PUBLISHED: 15:05 02 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:05 02 March 2020
© Terry Harris
Conservative Party members from the Peterborough Asian community whooped their delight as their votes helped to defeat the city’s former MP Stewart Jackson in his bid to become police and crime commissioner candidate.
After a speech that many felt to be easily the best of the three short-listed candidates, Mr Jackson lost out by "a single figure" margin to former police detective Darryl Preston.
Only around 250 of the 4,000 Conservative Party members in Cambridgeshire turned up in Peterborough for the Friday night hustings to select their new candidate.
Mr Jackson, who came armed with a portfolio of pledges if successful as the candidate, held what he hoped would be a winning card - a letter of support from Home Secretary Priti Patel.
But that failed to shift the vote in his favour and after a recount - one source says the margin was as low as two - he lost out to Mr Preston.
Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, chairman of the Peterborough Conservatives, was said to have looked "visibly surprised" by the 40 strong Asian membership opposition to Mr Jackson.
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Instead the Conservatives opted for Mr Preston of Ely, a little-known former detective.
"People do not like him," was how one Conservative grandee who voted in the hustings assessed Mr Jackson.
Mr Preston may not have a high public profile, but he certainly has an idea of what he might expect if elected - he has spent the past two and a half years working for the organisation that advises the country's PCCs.
He said his campaign will focus on "reducing crime, addressing the root causes of crime and ensuring policing throughout the county is visible and accessible to members of the public".
He is currently senior policy manager with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) that was set up in 1997 to provide Information on policing policy issues and legislation.
Although he began his police career as a cadet in the Met, he worked for Cambridgeshire police as a detective for over 11 years from 1998.
His CV speaks of "extensive experience in public protection, including investigation of serious/complex child abuse including homicides, management of ex- offenders and dangerous persons and online investigation".
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