Day of drama as Matthew Grove beats John Prescott in Humberside police commissioner results
IN THE end, it took two rounds to reveal the man chosen by the people to become Humberside’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.
After weeks on the campaign trail, Tory councillor Matthew Grove beat former Hull MP Lord Prescott to claim the new role.
He polled a total of 42,164 votes to Lord Prescott’s 39,933 after second preference votes were counted.
The two politicians were involved in a run-off after the other five candidates were eliminated when all the first preference votes were
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Mr Grove, who represents Mid-Holderness on East Riding Council, overtook Lord Prescott as the final second preferences were counted around tea-time last night.
Declared victorious, Mr Grove said: “If someone had told me nine months ago I would be standing here as the winner in this election, I would not have believed them,
“However, I know this only the warm-up for what will be a very important job.
“I want to make sure people are safe in their communities without taking any more money out of their pockets than they can afford.”
After a marathon election count for the region’s first police and crime commissioner, The Spa in Bridlington could end up challenging Aintree as the next venue for the Grand National.
Seven runners lined up at the start, although few were actually there in person.
UKIP’s Godfrey Bloom was absent courtesy of what was believed to be an unscheduled trip to hospital while Liberal Democrat Simone Butterworth stayed away completely through personal choice.
It was left to Labour’s John Prescott to inject some early drama, arriving in a grumpy mood at The Spa and advising Channel 4 political reporter Michael Crick to go away in slightly less-than-polite terms as a media scrum descended on the former Deputy Prime Minister.
More on the Humberside police commissioner election result
When the first results came through, Lord Prescott took an early lead.
Declared in front after a separate count in each local authority area, he was still ahead after the fourth and final vote from the East Riding was announced.
That result narrowed the field to two with former senior police officer Paul Davison just missing out. Standing as an independent, Mr Davison’s strong showing left him ahead of both UKIP and the Lib Dems as the leading runner-up. Despite falling just 633 votes short of a place in the final run-off, he declined to call for a recount.
He said: “It’s not my style to do something like that. I have thoroughly enjoyed the campaign and am very pleased by the support I received.
“I was absolutely amazed to get 21 per cent of the vote. I have been humbled.
“If it’s taught me one thing, I now know I never want to be a politician. I ran a clean campaign, which I think people could relate to.”
The supplementary voting system meant a second round of counting was almost inevitable with no candidate initially managing to secure more than 50 per cent of the votes.
With Lord Prescott and Conservative challenger Matthew Grove confirmed in the final count of second preference votes, East Riding Council chief executive Nigel Pearson announced a much-needed 30-minute break in proceedings.
By this stage, the count was nearing the four-hour mark.
The break triggered another media scrum as Lord Prescott and his wife Pauline left the building for a stroll around the nearby harbour, stopping in a restaurant for a quick meal.
With the Tories closing the gap at this stage, Labour supporters were looking increasingly worried.
Their fears were confirmed when the count of the second preference votes in the East Riding declared Mr Grove the winner.
The 19.4 per cent turnout in the Humberside election was one of the highest in the country but still left many disappointed.
Mr Grove said he hoped people would start to appreciate the importance of the new post over the coming months.
He said: “The turnout was disappointing and I hope it will be much higher in three and a half years’ time at the next election. If I do the job right, I would hope to see greater voter participation next time.”
Mr Grove also revealed some of his campaign team were looking forward to collecting their winnings after taking advantage of 100-1 odds being offered by bookies William Hill last week on a Conservative victory.