Philip Allott scandal exposes legal loophole that betrays victims like Sarah Everard – Tom Richmond

IT could have been worse for victims of violence and misogyny this weekend – Philip Allott could still be the outdated and out of touch North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

What are the key lessons after Philip Allott resigned as North Yorkshire's Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner?

That he’s not, following his grudging resignation on Thursday, is only thanks to the persistent perseverance of all those left outraged by his crass response to Sarah Everard’s murder.

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National politicians disowned Allott. His own staff wrote an unprecedented letter of protest. And his local crime panel – including senior Tories – endorsed a vote of no confidence by an unanimous margin of 11-0.

What are the key lessons after Philip Allott resigned as North Yorkshire's Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner?

Even then, this insensitive individual appeared – certainly for a few hours – intent on staying in office despite his own team disowning him.

That Allott did finally see sense – after appearing to blame everyone bar himself for his downfall after suggesting that women needed to be more “streetwise” – spares this county from a far greater embarrassment.

This is because a loophole in the legislation for police and crime commissioners does not subject them to the same ‘recall’ laws that are applicable to errant MPs and which enable voters to trigger a by-election if certain tests – and thresholds – are met.

Even though draft laws addressing this anomaly were debated by MPs in late 2014, the following year’s election – and then Brexit – saw them fall by the wayside.

There continues to be a huge outpouring of grief following the abduction, murder and rape of sarah Everard by a serving police officer. Her family came from York - and this week Philip Allott resigned as North Yorkshire's police, fire and crime commissioner.

Yet what is perturbing is the indifference from national politicians – and a reluctance to now bring forward the necessary legislation so that crime panels can hold disgraced commissioners like Allott to account or victims can, in certain circumstances, seek recourse at the ballot box.

It took the best part of 10 days to establish that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, would be supportive – but that he didn’t, personally, want to go on the record.

Meanwhile Home Secretary Priti Patel’s office remain guarded about her future intentions. A spokesperson says a review underway “will assess the benefits and demerits of a trigger mechanism for the recall of PCCs”.

What concerns me is that both the Tories and Labour do not want to set a precedent that could enable other disgraced PCCs to be held to account, presumably because there could be other commissioners as odious and obnoxious as Allott.

There continues to be a huge outpouring of grief following the abduction, murder and rape of sarah Everard by a serving police officer. Her family came from York - and this week Philip Allott resigned as North Yorkshire's police, fire and crime commissioner.

That, too, is a disingenuous and deceitful disdain for democracy, and a betrayal of victims, which must – and will – be challenged.

THREE different approaches to the politics of opposition were deployed 
this week by a triumvirate of former Labour Cabinet ministers from South Yorkshire.

Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband – a senior Shadow Cabinet member and a former Energy Secretary – basically told Boris Johnson to get off his “sun lounger and start being a statesman”.

Former Don Valley MP Caroline Flint teamed up with the Onward think-tank to come up with a long-term strategy to help Britain meet its net zero ambitions.

And Labour peer David Blunkett – Education Secretary in New Labour’s first term – offered, in a House of Lords speech, to help Ministers with their reforms to technical and vocational education so not to disadvantage young people.

I know which two approaches should be pursued – and the strategy that, to pardon the pun, generates more heat than light...

SO ‘militants’ from Insulate Britain claim that they have a “mandate” to block roads, disrupt business, delay ambulances and prevent people from driving to hospitals to visit seriously ill – and even dying – loved ones.

If so, they should put this to the test 
by contesting the forthcoming Old 
Bexley and Sidcup parliamentary 
by-election.

Ted Heath’s former seat was held by a respected former Cabinet minister, James Brokenshire, until his death from lung cancer last week. It’s also an outer London seat in an area where Insulate Britain eco-maniacs have been on manoeuvres. Now let’s see if they have the courage of their convictions.

MORE evidence of Boris Johnson’s top team looking out of touch. Chancellor Rishi Sunak chooses to overlook the cost of living crisis by expressing confidence that there will be “a good amount of Christmas presents for everyone to buy” – forgetting that this will not be possible for those suffering great hardship at present or wider supply chain issues now disrupting the economy.

Meanwhile Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab have been bickering over who has squatters’ rights at Chevening, the 115-room Grade One listed country pile that can be used by a senior Cabinet minister.

It’s in the gift of Boris Johnson who has decided to sit on the fence – literally – and let the squabbling pair fight it out over the fripperies and foibles at their ‘timeshare’ rather than challenging convention and suggesting that it could be opened up to homeless families this Christmas.

FINALLY, it looks like that the BBC negotiated an even worse deal for taxpayers when they cut Match of the Day host Gary Lineker’s salary to a mere £1.36m while giving him licence to work for rival broadcasters when he sees fit.

He’s not even fronting its coverage of women’s football which, instead, is being hosted by the excellent Gabby Logan and former international Alex Scott. I hope that the supercilious Lineker – Mr Political Correctness – doesn’t think that women’s football is beneath him.

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