UKip announce former Tory as candidate for Norfolk Police Commissioner
PUBLISHED: 14:21 17 October 2012 | UPDATED: 14:32 17 October 2012
The UK Independence Party have announced their candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Norfolk.
It will be Matthew Smith, who in May missed out on taking the Gorleston seat in the Great Yarmouth borough elections by a mere 50 votes to Conservative Bert Collins.
Smith defected from the Conservative Party in 2011 - he had been secretary of the Great Yarmouth Conservative Association. He said at the time “I have left the Conservative Party as I believe they are out of touch with the needs of people both nationally and locally, here in Great Yarmouth.”
Mr Smith says he is a prominent campaigner in Yarmouth and an advocate of grassroots campaigning and local democracy.
His most recent campaign outside of UKip has been with the Save Our Coastguards group.
He added: “We have too many candidates with an ‘I know best approach’ when what we need is somebody who will listen to views from both inside and outside the Police force and take a fresh look at policing in Norfolk.
“Two candidates are former Police Authority members who have slavishly adhered to the bureaucracy introduced by Labour that has left us with less bobbies on the beat and a Conservative candidate who supports a Party that, by 2014, will be spending more on International aid than on our own Nation’s Policing.
“What this county really needs is a police force that puts the victim before the criminal and is freed from the excesses of paperwork brought about by years of big state regulation.”
Mr Smith added that one of his main priorities would be to ensure we have “bobbies on the beat”, and that in his experience of speaking to local people this is their main wish from a local police force.
“PSCOs with little or no power are not a decent substitute for a local Police Officer who knows his area, knows the people involved and is part of the community” he said.
UKip leader Nigel Farage said he wholeheartedly backed Mr Smith’s candidacy and said he would bring “vigour and youthful insight” into the campaign.
“I know from working with him in UKip and my visits to Norfolk and Great Yarmouth his great ability to get people involved and to turn organisations around,” Farage said.
“With a career in sales and marketing, he has a keen understanding of what people are looking for in their lives as well as a natural ability to listen to their concerns.”
Smith, 24, had been selected to stand for the Conservatives in the Claydon Ward in 2011 and had been their candidate at the 2010 local elections in the same ward. He was also one of the Tory candidates in the 2009 County Council elections.
He spent eighteen months on local MP, Brandon Lewis’s campaign team before quitting, stating: “I have left the Conservative Party as I believe they are out of touch with the needs of people both nationally and locally, here in Great Yarmouth. There are so many issues on which I feel they are letting us down but two in particular gave me no choice but to move to a party that puts the British people first — immigration and defence cuts.
“The Conservatives continually fail to tackle the elephant in the room, i.e. immigration from the EU, because they know that in order to deal with it properly, they have to re-examine our whole relationship with the EU. Secondly, I am appalled by what they are doing to our armed forces with draconian cuts at the same time as they are busily committing our brave service personnel to yet another conflict, this time in Libya. They cannot have it both ways.”
Matthew Smith’s website can be found at http://ukip-gy.co.uk/norfolk-pcc-elections and on twitter @_matthew_smith