David Cameron spent yesterday campaigning for Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidates in Bedfordshire and Leicestershire. The visits, though, received scant national attention: the only coverage I’ve spotted so far is on page 33 of The Times.
Talk to ministers and they maintain that the Police and Crime Commissioner elections are more visible out in the country than they are in London, where there’s no contest. They argue that the capital-centric nature of the media explains why the press keep writing the elections off as a damp squib.
There is, I suspect, some truth to this charge. But an average turnout of only 20 percent would still not be impressive.
Cameron tells The Times that turnout will increase next time round because voters will realise that the commissioners do actually have real power. I expect that this is right. But Cameron can’t escape criticism for the Conservatives’ failure to recruit a slate of impressive candidates this time round.
One other thing worth noting is Cameron’s strong hint that if re-elected, he would simply legislate for elected mayors. Number 10 remains stung by the failure of most of the mayoral referendums this May.