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2:00pm Friday 9th November 2012 in Election News
Political Party: Conservative
A former minister and MP for East Hampshire, Michael Mates is undoubtedly the most high profile candidate in the race to become the county’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.
But his notoriety has not always served him well – with speculation circulating that he does not actually live in Hampshire and media reports about his previous links to disgraced Polly Peck tycoon Asil Nadir, who was jailed for fraud this summer.
The 78-year-old has named his top priorities as reducing crime, ensuring the public is “excellently served” by its police force and taking good care of the victims of crime.
He says he stands out from the other five candidates because of his experience.
He said: “I spent years as a Member of Parliament and I was Minister of State in Northern Ireland.
“In that job I oversaw the Royal Ulster Constabulary – I set their budget, gave them their money to do their job and oversaw the police constable – and this is at the height of the troubles, when bombs and bullets were flying.”
He says that as part of this work, he has already been security vetted to the highest level.
He added: “I have spent my life having my private life, public life and financial life scrutinised to do the jobs I’m doing.
“That is something I have that none of the other candidates have.”
Mr Mates has a home in West Sussex, near the border with Hampshire, and rents a flat in Winchester.
When questioned about his address, Mr Mates said he has consulted the Electoral Registration Officer and the Returning Officer, who will oversee the elections, and both have said he is eligible to stand.
He added: “I have rented a flat in Winchester since March of this year, three months before I was selected.
“I have been using it over the summer and of course if I’m elected it will be my base in the week.”
One of his first jobs, if elected, would be to appoint a new chief constable, after Alex Marshall announced his resignation.
Mr Mates said he would be looking for someone that is “forward looking” and is “burning with enthusiasm for change”, in terms of keeping the force up to date with the latest technology.