Recount drama before Labour's Joy Allen wins Durham Police and Crime Commissioner contest
Votes in the contest to become the next Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Durham had to be counted twice before Labour’s Joy Allen could be declared the victor.
Labour looked to have opened a commanding lead over the Conservatives in the contest after first preference ballots had been tallied up.
But shortly after counting of the second preference votes from the defeated Liberal Democrat candidate began, "discrepancies” were found in the first batch, prompting officials to start again from scratch.
It was later revealed this had been caused after votes for the Lib Dems and Conservatives were “incorrectly recorded on the final return sheet”.
The do-over saw the Tories gain about 3,400 first preference votes.
Labour also benefited slightly although party sources were increasingly confident of gaining the lion’s share of second preference votes from the Lib Dems.
And so it proved, with Labour eventually finishing with a combined total of 80,510 votes - more than 3,000 ahead of Conservative challenger George Jabbour on 77,352 - once all votes were combined.
Liberal Democrat candidate Anne-Marie Curry was knocked out after the first round of voting and her first preference ballots were redistributed between the surviving pair.
The result makes Allen Durham’s third PCC since the role was established
Labour’s Ron Hogg, a former police officer, was the inaugural holder of the post, winning elections in 2012 and 2016.
But he died in December 2019 after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
The PCC office’s chief executive, former Police Federation boss Steve White, stepped into the breach on a temporary basis until this year’s elections, originally scheduled for 2020, could be held.
The Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary Jo Farrell has said she is looking forward to working with the new PCC following on from the confirmation of Ms Allen’s election after the count at Spennymoor Leisure Centre.
It followed on from polling day on Thursday, May 6.
She said: “I would like to congratulate the newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner and look forward to working together to deliver effective and efficient policing for the people of County Durham and Darlington.”