Olly Martins: South West Beds Labour to vote on PCC’s future

Olly Martins, centre, is fighting to be re-elected in May
Olly Martins, centre, is fighting to be re-elected in May

South West Beds Labour members will today vote in a trigger ballot on the future of PCC Olly Martins.

The police and crime commissioner is up for re-election in May but first needs to gain the backing of his party.

Constituency groups and affiliated unions across the county vote on whether to automatically re-select Mr Martins, or to opt instead for an open ballot.

The incumbent PCC has faced difficulty thus far, as Luton South’s local constituency group voted against his automatic re-selection a fortnight ago.

The town’s other party is expected to follow suit when it votes later this week, a Labour source has told us.

However, the Gazette understands that Mr Martins is likely to fare better today when members from Dunstable, Houghton Regis and the surrounding area gather to have their say.

South West Beds’ Labour group usually attracts 50 members for the selection of a parliamentary candidate and a similar figure is expected to attend today.

Newer members will not be eligible to vote as a minimum of six months membership is required.

Constituency secretary and former councillor Mike Bishop told the Gazette: “I’ve not heard of anyone in our party that is unhappy with Olly.

“Nobody has had a bad word to say about him to my knowledge.”

Mr Martins hit out at “anonymous and corrupt cowards” after he failed to gain the backing of Luton South on December 3.

The PCC claims that members in the party voted against him to get revenge over his opposition to perceived ‘membership packing’ of the constituency.

He added that he ‘fully expects’ to remain on the ballot for Labour next May.

However a Labour source told the Gazette that Luton South members were simply airing their dissatisfaction over the PCC’s performance.

The source added: “There have been a lot of issues with (Mr Martins) in the press, he has made a lot of gaffes.”