Last year we leafleted every house in Peterborough councillor Andy Coles’ Fletton & Woodston ward to tell them about his past as a member of the Metropolitan Police’s disgraced Special Demonstration Squad. Earlier this year, we did it again.
We heard defences of his behaviour and false claims about it, so we dealt with those in a detailed briefing that we issued to every member of Peterborough City Council. We held a meeting just for councillors to answer questions and talk about the related issues.
Whilst we have had discussions with councillors from several different parties, Peterborough Conservatives have brushed it off.
They know full well that he abused police power to sexually violate a vulnerable teenager. Whilst infiltrating peace and animal rights groups, he violated fundamental human rights that the police are sworn to uphold. In defending him, they make themselves complicit in his lies.
Peterborough City Council is under Conservative control – but only just. They have a majority of one seat.
Earlier this month there was a by-election in the Orton Longueville ward. The Conservatives, defending a majority of 120, fielded Gavin Elsey as their candidate. A well-established figure in Peterborough politics, he was councillor for neighbouring Orton Waterville and a council cabinet member before his shock defeat to the Greens in May.
Elsey won the Orton Longuevile by-election a fortnight ago but, despite his prominence and the efforts of the party, the Conservatives lost most of their majority and he only scraped in by 56 votes.
There are now three wards where the Conservatives have a majority of less than 100 seats – Bretton, North, and Orton Longueville.
Additionally, there are two where they came second this year by a margin of less than 30 votes – Ravensthorpe, and Coles’ own Fletton & Woodston ward.
Coles himself is not up for re-election until 2020, but there will be more council elections in May 2019. We will ensure that every household in the marginal wards is informed about Andy Coles’ deplorable past, and about his despicable dishonest response and avoidance of accountability.
Our campaign does not endorse any candidate or party. If Andy Coles were in any other party or none at all, it would be just as inappropriate for him to hold a position of public trust, and we would condemn both him and whatever local party supported him.
How people choose to vote is a matter for their own conscience. We only ask that those who have the modicum of morality it takes to be outraged at Coles do their best to ensure Peterborough Conservatives hear it in the only place they listen – the ballot box.