Commissioner to face motion of no confidence

Thursday 10 January 2013 Updated: 14/01 11:41

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Buy photos » Bill Longmore has previously rejected claims of ‘cronyism’ over the appointment of his deputy Barrie Sheldon. (s)

POLICE and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Bill Longmore is facing fresh calls for his resignation after it emerged a group of county councillors are set to table a motion of no confidence against him.

The Labour Group at County Hall want to see Mr Longmore step down as West Mercia's PCC along with his deputy Barrie Sheldon whose appointment has triggered the move.

Mr Longmore has faced fierce criticism for pressing ahead with the appointment of his friend Mr Sheldon to the £50,000 post amid accusations of 'cronyism'.

His refusal to back down has prompted Labour councillors to submit the motion of no confidence which they hope will secure cross-party support when it goes before full council next Thursday (Jan 17).

The motion reads: "This council has no confidence in the new West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner and his deputy and calls upon them to consider their positions."

Although the council has no power to force Mr Longmore and his deputy to resign, if successful it would be another blow to the 72-year-old PCC just two months after being elected to the post.

He has already faced fierce criticism over the appointment of Mr Sheldon from the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel which said he had not gone through a 'competitive and transparent process' and urged him to consider other candidates.

Panel member Roger Hollingworth also called for him to resign, describing the move as "absolutely disgraceful".

But Mr Longmore - who is legally entitled to directly appoint his deputy - chose to stick with Mr Sheldon.

Coun Alan Amos, Labour county councillor for Gorse Hill and Warndon, said he hoped other parties would back the motion and send a clear message to Mr Longmore over the outrage his actions had caused.

"The Police and Crime Panel unanimously condemned this decision and called upon the Commissioner not to go ahead with it but he totally ignored that and I think that raises very serious questions over democracy and accountability," he said.

"We felt it was right the people of Worcestershire were able to express their views on this appalling decision which was made so soon after he was elected."

But in a joint response Mr Longmore and Mr Sheldon said they were "disappointed" by the motion.

"We would ask that people judge us on our achievements over the course of the next three and a half years and not on a period when we have only been in office for around two months," the statement added.

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