Cumbria PCC: Richard Rhodes elected for Conservatives

Despite a turnout of less than 16%, Mr Mr Rhodes believed he had a public mandate.

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Conservative Richard Rhodes has been elected as Cumbria's first police and crime commissioner.

Mr Rhodes, chairman of the Cumbria Probation Trust, beat Labour's Patrick Leonard after a count of second preference votes.

Independent Mary Robinson came third in the poll and Liberal Democrat Pru Jupe was fourth.

Mr Rhodes will set the force's budget and priorities and hold the chief constable to account.

The Conservatives will be delighted to have won in Cumbria. But they know the result might have been very different.

Had independent candidate Mary Robinson made it to the second ballot, they feared she might win by taking many of the second preference votes.

She failed by just 50 votes, leaving Conservative Richard Rhodes in a run-off against Labour's Patrick Leonard. Rhodes won that with some comfort.

But there will be questions about legitimacy. Richard Rhodes got 28% of the votes from the 16% of voters who turned out.

That means fewer than 5% of Cumbria's electorate actually voted for him.

Turnout was confirmed as 15.6% when the result was announced in Kendal earlier.

Mr Rhodes won after a second count with 25,408 votes. Labour rival Patrick Leonard attracted 20,317.

BBC Look North's political editor Richard Moss was told one ballot box had no votes inside when it was returned.

Mr Rhodes will start work as a commissioner without a permanent chief constable.

Cumbria's Stuart Hyde is currently suspended from duty following a misconduct inquiry, although the Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled complaints about his management style were based on "unsupported suspicion".

Temporary chief constable Bernard Lawson said: "I welcome Mr Rhodes as the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria and look forward to working with him.

"As we continue to work within an ever-changing police force, community policing is our priority.

"Our focus will continue to remain on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, bringing offenders to justice and dealing with those issues that matter most to our communities.

"Cumbria has one of the lowest crime rates in the country and our priority will be to maintain this and continue to ensure the Cumbria remains a safe place to live, work and visit."

CUMBRIA: Richard Rhodes (Conservative) elected

Turnout does not include spoilt ballots

Turnout: 62,249 (15.6%)

Second round

Candidate

Party

Final total

%

Status

Richard Rhodes

Conservative

25,408

55.6

Elected

Patrick Leonard

Labour

20,317

44.4

First round

Candidate

Party

1st pref

%

2nd pref

Richard Rhodes

Conservative

18,080

29

7,328

Patrick Leonard

Labour

15,301

24.6

5,016

Mary Robinson

Independent

15,245

24.5

Pru Jupe

Liberal Democrat

13,623

21.9

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