Cleveland crime commissioner hits back at Labour 'witch hunt' and says he will not walk away
A Conservative police and crime commissioner has hit back at calls by local Labour leaders for him to quit describing it as a witch-hunt.
Four Labour Group leaders on Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, and Redcar and Cleveland councils this week released a joint statement demanding Steve Turner stand down from Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner.
It followed revelations about Mr Turner receiving a police caution for handling stolen goods 22 years ago, and that he is being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following an allegation of a serious non-recent offence.
But Mr Turner, who was elected in May, described it as a “witch hunt” and said he will be taking legal action over the contents of the letter.
He said: “This latest act is vindictive, malicious and designed to put pressure on my family hoping that I walk away from the role.
"I will not be bullied out of this role by people who make defamatory statements about me.
“Each one of these individuals presides over a Labour group that collectively have lost dozens of councillors, a mayor, a metro mayor, three MPs and a PCC in the last few years.
"They are a bitter and dying breed that has nothing to offer the people of Teesside apart from bile, selfishness, negativity and incompetence.”
He said he wanted those calling for his resignation “to know that I will continue to fight these false statements of malice”.
Mr Turner added he had been cleared by the IOPC of theft claims made by Middlesbrough MP Andy MacDonald and of another two separate allegations brought by the Labour Party and its supporters.