Hampshire crime commissioner faces re-selection with Conservative members set to push him off top spot

Police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, Michael Lane. Picture: Sarah Standing (050319-2253)
Police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, Michael Lane. Picture: Sarah Standing (050319-2253)

THE crime commissioner for Hampshire has vowed he will stand again for election – but first must convince his own party to pick him.

Voters will pick their new commissioner next year but political parties are already starting to choose who will represent them at the ballot box.

Conservative Michael Lane has insisted he can make a ‘positive difference in difficult times’ and wants to be his party’s choice at the next election.

But contenders in his own party are lining up in the wings to possibly knock him off the top spot – with a vote set for this summer.

Former commissioner Simon Hayes moved to the Conservative party after losing the job in the 2016 election as an independent.

Ex-leader of Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Donna Jones stood for the Conservative candidacy previously. But sources say she is focused on a potential parliamentary bid in Portsmouth South – if an early election is called.

The departure of Flick Drummond as candidate for Portsmouth South MP has left a question mark over who will take that position, with the possibility Cllr Jones could do so if an election is called sooner over Brexit uncertainty.

Incumbent Mr Lane told The News: ‘I’m standing because this continues to be a massively motivating job where I can help make a positive difference in difficult times.’

A meeting in the summer will see Tory members vote on whether or not to re-select Mr Lane – he must win this by 51 per cent.

It comes months after he lost a confidence vote run by Hampshire Police Federation. Serving officers votes overwhelming to say they had no confidence in him in the job.

That followed a row over how much cash was assigned to his team while also cutting jobs.

If Mr Lane does not win this latest vote by 51 per cent then the internal contest moves to open selection where he would automatically be a candidate.

Other candidates vying for the job could also stand. The winner would then face the ballot box next year.

Plans last year to re-select the Conservative candidate earlier than planned were pushed back to this summer, sources have said.

If Mr Lane is unsuccessful it would leave him in the awkward position of being the elected Conservative crime commissioner for a year – but not the party’s preferred choice to face the public again.