Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner candidate speaks out against neo-conservative sponsor claims
A Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner candidate has responded to claims in a national newspaper that he is secretly backed by American neo-conservative lobbyists and companies pushing for police privatisation.
Standing for election, Mervyn Barrett expressed that the ideas in his manifesto are his own and not influenced by any other parties.
The Telegraph revealed that PCC candidate, Mervyn Barrett's campaign was being run by a US-based neo-conservative think tank, partially funded by a variety of corporate donors with an interest in public-sector privatisation.
Suspicions were raised after his campaign seemed too expensive for the nature of the elections and more extensive than others across the UK.
The article speculates that the reason a Lincolnshire candidate was targeted was because Lincolnshire Police are 'outsourcing pioneers' due to their involvement with G4S security firm.
However, Mr Barrett has responded with a statement condemning the claims made against him.
He said: "I am not for sale, I never have been for sale and I never will be for sale."
"If anybody who donated to my campaign thought differently they are very sorely mistaken.
"It is disingenuous in the extreme to suggest that I am in some way anybody’s puppet."
The campaign itself has been built around leaflets, free DVDs and full-page newspaper adverts, all coordinated by professional staff.
Mr Barrett has always described himself as an 'independent' opposed to party politics and refused to disclose who was funding him until it was revealed by The Telegraph.
His entire campaign team resigned on October 20 after being contacted by the newspaper.
Mr Barrett said: "I wish to make clear that both I and my campaign are in full compliance with UK electoral law.
"I now wish to take time to reflect on both the reaction to the Telegraph article and also to consider how best I could continue my campaign following the resignation of my Campaign Director and Campaign team.
"I also wish to consult with my legal advisers regarding a number of inaccuracies that the original article contained."
Mervyn Barrett has worked for crime reduction charity, Nacro for 30 years and believes his experience in this field and love of the county will make him a good candidate.
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner hustings will be covered live by This is Lincolnshire on October 23, from 6.30pm.
Mervyn Barrett's PCC campaign video.