MP faces Commons probe over ‘leaflet stunt’

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THE speaker of the House of Commons is to investigate a complaint that a Conservative Yorkshire MP tried to grant publicity to his party’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) candidate for Humberside by holding up one of his campaign leaflets during a parliamentary debate.

Shadow Leader of the Commons Angela Eagle yesterday asked John Bercow to investigate claims Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole, held up a leaflet promoting the Tory PCC candidate Matthew Grove during a debate on policing on Wednesday.

Mr Percy is claimed to be holding up the campaign leaflet in camera shot for 30 seconds, while Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers is speaking.

Mr Grove later wrote on Twitter: “Many thanks to @andrewpercy & Martin Vickers MP for their support during Parliament Police debate – great double act & ‘display’ of support!”

The spending limit for any candidate in the Humberside area is £126,520, and it is being claimed a 30-second advert on a satellite channel would cost about £22,000.

The Labour candidate for Humberside Lord Prescott, said yesterday: “This is a rather childish stunt from an increasingly desperate campaign.

“It is a matter for the speaker and the electoral commission to investigate whether they have broken any parliamentary rules and incurred campaign spending.

“But people are tired of this petty politicking so I’ll leave them to it and keep on campaigning on the issues that matter to the people of East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire.”

Mr Percy told the Yorkshire Post last night: “I was about to speak in the debate on the PCC election and was reading a range of literature in relation to the elections.

“I had a range of literature including opposition literature and was reading them in preparation for the debate.

“I really think that Lord Prescott and the Labour Party must have actually lost their grip if they believe the electorate were tuned into the parliamentary channel at 6.30pm.

“They just need to grow up.”

The PCC elections take place across England and Wales on November 15, with elected commissioners granted the powers to hire and fire chief constables and set police budgets.