CRIME commissioner Michael Lane has been deselected by members of his own party after three years in office.
The former Royal Navy commodore faced re-selection ahead of the police and crime commissioner election in Hampshire next year.
But at a Hampshire Conservative Party meeting members refused to back him to be their candidate.
That prompted an announcement from Mr Lane that he will not attempt to stand again. The party must now find a new candidate.
Speaking to The News minutes after losing the vote, Mr Lane said: ‘It leaves me with a very strong mandate for another 10 and a half months and at that point I will hope there are fantastic candidates to replace me and it’s a difficult choice for them.
‘I think I have been doing a really good job about keeping us all safer and I think I have not managed - for the people in the room that was assembled today - to have communicated the purpose of the job well enough. It is what it is.
‘The party has decided they want someone else - I’m a Conservative, there’s a process, it’s okay.
‘I stood as a Conservative, the Conservative party decided they want someone else that’s the decision, there was a process - that does it.
‘I wish it was a different process, I wish that I’d won but it’s what it is. It’s democracy at work.
‘Politics is bloody sudden death stuff.
‘It doesn’t change the mandate I have for 10 and a half months - it changes the party’s view who they want to stand and they made it clear that wasn’t me - I respect that, I don’t agree with it but that’s the outcome.’
He now faces nearly a year in office knowing he does not have the backing of his party.
A Tory source said: ‘He said in his concession speech that it was a "clear" vote.
‘All the rumours I hear is that Flick Drummond wants to stand.
‘Simon Hayes is also apparently thinking about standing as a Conservative.
‘Michael Lane has been the invisible man of Hampshire which was the main contributing factor to his deselection.’
Another Tory party source said Mr Lane is now effectively a ‘lame duck’.
It comes after Mr Lane, a former Gosport Borough Council councillor between 2010-2014, lost the first ever no-confidence vote held by serving police officers in a non-binding poll run by Hampshire Police Federation.
That vote was sparked after The News revealed Mr Lane planned to boost his office costs while officer and staff posts were being cut under last year’s budget.
As a result the public called on Police and Crime Panel members not to back his budget – with members delivering him a body blow by insisting every penny of a council tax increase must be spent on the frontline.
The News revealed this year that a promised 210 police officer boost paid for by a £12-a-year council tax hike saw a drastic cut in PCSOs to fund the officers – and only around 80 were added to total numbers.
Flick Drummond, former deputy crime commissioner under Mr Lane, has confirmed she will seek to run as Conservative candidate.
She will have to face any other candidates who put themselves forward.
Mr Hayes, Hampshire’s first crime commissioner, is expected to stand.
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said: ‘At a time of unprecedented cuts to our police force, £90m in Hampshire alone between 2011 and 2019, the Tories record on keeping our city’s communities safe is one of absolute failure.
‘With 1,000 fewer police officers in Hampshire, violent crime doubling, offences on the up in Portsmouth, and the harsh reality of cuts seeing almost one in five police officers suffer from PTSD, we deserve so much better.
‘We need a police and crime commissioner who will invest in community safety and give our police the resources they need, tackling the causes and bearing down on crime in Portsmouth. That change is now urgent.’
A selection process is underway to pick a Labour candidate.