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Labour shortlist for West Midlands PCC role branded a 'stitch up'

By Pete Madeley | Crime | Published:

Yvonne Mosquito has been shortlisted to become Labour's candidate for West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner – three years after she left her post as deputy over claims she had interfered in a murder investigation.

Yvonne Mosquito is one of four people vying to become Labour's candidate for PCC

The Birmingham councillor is one of four people chosen as contenders by a panel that is understood to have featured disgraced Labour MP Keith Vaz.

The other candidates are former MP Mike O'Brien, solicitor Simon Foster and former Sandwell Council assistant chief executive Melanie Dudley.

It means that Lynnette Kelly, who recently quit as assistant PCC and had been endorsed by Unison, and the current commissioner's strategic advisor Tom McNeil, both missed out.

The selections have prompted anger among some Labour members, with the party's West Midlands regional office accused of overseeing "a complete stitch up".

'Serious misconduct'

Ms Mosquito left the post as deputy to PCC David Jamieson in 2016 after it was claimed she had upset the family of teenage murder victim Kenichi Phillips by turning up at their home and asking them to pray with her.

Mr Jamieson said her actions, which breached an agreement between police and the family, had made it harder for officers to investigate the killing.

Kenichi Phillips was shot dead aged 18 in Birmingham

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Ms Mosquito was found guilty of serious misconduct following an investigation. She received a payout after a tribunal and served as Lord Mayor of Birmingham last year.

She is believed to have been a preferred choice of Leicester East MP Mr Vaz, who quit as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2016 after it emerged he had engaged in sexual activity with rent boys and and allegedly offered to buy them cocaine.

A Labour source told the E&S: "This is a complete stitch up by the regional office to get rid of perfectly good candidates."

'Rigorous and robust'

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A spokesperson for West Midlands Labour, said: "The process of shortlisting candidates to be the next West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner was conducted in a rigorous, robust, transparent and fair way, in accordance with party rules and with proper consideration given to promoting equal opportunities.

“All of those longlisted were strong candidates and it is good news for the Labour Party that the field was so competitive. Ultimately the decision will rest with the wider membership on a one member one vote basis.”

Ms Kelly had been widely regarded as favourite for the Labour candidacy.

She said: "My interview on Friday went well, but sadly not well enough and I didn’t make the shortlist to be PCC.

"Thanks to everyone who supported me, and to Unison for nominating me. My very best wishes to whoever ends up as our candidate."

Mr McNeil said: "I’m disappointed, but grateful to have met so many superb members along the way."

The election to succeed Mr Jamieson as PCC is set to take place in May 2020. Labour plans to announce its candidate on September 12.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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