Prescott on frontline in Miliband’s police commissioner army
Ed Miliband is set to turn this November's police and crime commissioner elections into an effective referendum on the coalition's law and order policies – and has the campaigning power of John Prescott on his side.
The Labour leader has pledged to "stand up for communities" by challenging Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates in the elections in England and Wales.
"The government is making the wrong choices on crime, taking frontline police off the streets, weakening powers to deal with anti-social behaviour, and opening the door to the privatisation of core services," Mr Miliband said.
"Labour candidates will fight the impact of these reckless changes, working within local communities to bring about the change people want."
Voters will be given the chance to directly elect an individual empowered to hire and fire police chiefs for the first time on November 15th this year.
A number of parliamentarians are among those standing – most notably Lord Prescott, who has secured Labour's backing to stand as the party's police and crime commissioner in Humberside.
The former New Labour deputy prime minister was chosen by local party members over Keith Hunter, who had served as Humberside's senior police officer.
Lord Prescott has maintained a prominent presence in British politics since entering parliament's upper House, thanks to his outspoken views on issues like phone-hacking and other issues. He has 139,000 followers on Twitter.
"I have won and I'm delighted to do so," Lord Prescott told the Hull and East Riding Mail.
"I want to be the champion of the people and their voice on policing matters. I am looking forward to the campaign and getting my message across."
The former deputy prime minister used his Twitter account to thank Mr Hunter for a "lively campaign" and pledged he would be the "people's voice".
"THEY will shape their policing priorities with the police NOT Whitehall," he stated.
Former Welsh first minister Alun Michael, who had served as policing minister in Tony Blair's first term in power, will contest South Wales. His son Tal Michael is running for Labour in North Wales.
Other notable candidates include Vera Baird, the former Redcar MP, who is standing in Northumbria and Jane Kennedy, Liverpool Wavertree's MP from 1992 until 2010, who beat fellow former MP Peter Kilfoyle to the Merseyside candidacy.
Policing minister Nick Herbert accused Labour of having a "confused and hypocritical" view of law and order issues.
"They oppose the greater accountability PCCs will bring, but are asking the public to support Labour candidates," he said.
"They say they will use the elections to oppose police cuts, but they would be cutting the police if they were in government.
"Labour have no credibility on crime and the public can have no confidence in Labour candidates."