by Ray Fleming

The Corby by-election in Britain on 15 November is likely to be won by Labour even though the constituency's former MP, Louise Mensch, was a Conservative.

She deserted her post at short notice for personal reasons and in doing so angered many local Conservative voters. Add Labour's current lead in the polls and the outcome seems a foregone conclusion.

On the same day as the by-election voters will have the chance to vote for forty-one Police and Crime Commissioners whose task will be “to hold Chief Constables and police forces to account on the public's behalf” - replacing the long-established local government Watch Committees. Last week the former head of the Metropolitan Police, Lord Blair, publicly urged people to shun this poll on a number of grounds. Lord Blair is not popular with politicians but several former Chief Constables and other interested parties have strongly supported him in letters to The Times and other ways. Their main complaints are that the new system will give wide power to a single person who may have no background in policing or the law and that elected commissioners coming from a political background may politicise the police for the first time. Relations between Britain's police and the government are currently at a very low ebb and the introduction of this new and untested system is unlikely to improve them.

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