MP makes theft claims against Cleveland police boss in Parliament
A Labour MP has used parliamentary privilege to claim a Tory police and crime commissioner was “sacked” by a former employer for “systematic theft”.
Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, made the allegation against Steve Turner, the Conservative police and crime commissioner for Cleveland, during a Commons debate linked to the Elections Bill.
In a later statement, Mr Turner said in response: “This is an appalling use of parliamentary privilege and I will be calling on Mr McDonald to retract his unsubstantiated allegations.”
Parliamentary privilege enables MPs to say whatever they wish in the House of Commons without fear of being sued for defamation.
Mr McDonald, in response to a speech by shadow cabinet office minister Cat Smith, had told the Commons chamber: “On the topic of police and crime commissioner elections, is she as staggered as I am to learn that the Conservative Party’s PCC for Cleveland, Steve Turner, who was elected earlier this year, was in fact sacked in the early 2000s for systematic theft of merchandise from his then employer, Safeway supermarket, at their Norton store?
“Does she agree with me that it’s totally untenable for someone who is engaged in such criminal behaviour to hold the position of PCC and he must resign from his role with immediate effect?”
Ms Smith replied: “I am as staggered as my honourable friend to learn that the Conservative Party’s police and crime commissioner for Cleveland was sacked for theft from a Safeway supermarket.
“And I’d certainly agree with him it is totally untenable for a criminal to hold the position of police and crime commissioner, and that if what my honourable friend has shared with the House is true then I would expect a resignation and a by-election for that police and crime commissioner with immediate effect.”
“We will put more officers back on the streets and get the dealers out of our communities.
“It is a mandate to reduce anti-social behaviour and increase opportunities for our young people so they are safe from the lure of crime.
“With this mandate as your commissioner together we will put the pride back in Cleveland Police.”