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No power for new commissioner vote

Off the Record
Behind the scenes at County Hall with political editor Paul Francis, Regional Press Awards UK’s weekly newspaper journalist of the year

Even when she is on holiday and out of the country, it seems Kent police commissioner Ann Barnes cannot evade the headlines. Prime Minister David Cameron said in a BBC Radio Kent interview he felt the commissioner was not making a decent fist of things – although it was unclear whether he had actually seen the now infamous Channel 4 documentary. He pointed out the way the system worked did at least mean people could vote her out. The only problem? It won’t be for two years. Perhaps the government should have included the power of recall in the original legislation.
• Another week and the “where will Nigel Farage stand in the election” rumour mill cranks into action. This time, it is a claim that he had definitely, definitely decided to go for Folkestone and Hythe, the seat held by Conservative Damian Collins. Only, of course, he hadn’t. Another episode where there had been a certain misunderstanding over what was said and what was said to have been said. Even the plain-speaking Mr Farage is sounding as if he is getting a little ticked off by the weekly rumours. Only one thing to do…
• Meanwhile, another UKIP rumour reaches Off The Record. This one is about the possibility of UKIP council candidates in Thanet next May coming from the Save Manston Airport group.
• The general election might be a year away, but we are already seeing the parties throwing a few goodies in the direction of key target groups among them motorists. An extra £168 million for councils to fix potholes – meaning more than £6 million for Kent – is undoubtedly geared towards trying to pacify a constituency of voters who are known to be quite vociferous.
• Follow Paul on Twitter for all Kent’s political news and comment @PaulOnPolitics

Herne Bay Gazette, June 26th 2014

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