PCC Olly Martins faces crunch re-selection vote as Labour support wavers

Olly Martins, centre, is fighting to be re-elected in May
Olly Martins, centre, is fighting to be re-elected in May

Olly Martins is unlikely to gain the support of Labour members at a crunch meeting later this week, the Luton News understands.

On Thursday Luton South Labour Party members voted against a move to automatically reselect Mr Martins as the county police and crime commissioner, opting instead for an open ballot.

A number of other Labour constituency parties across the county and affiliated unions will also vote on the future of Mr Martins, who was elected in November 2012.

Members of the local party in Luton North will vote later this week and a senior Labour source has told the Luton News that they expect another tough ride for the PCC.

They said: “I do not think it will be much different (to Luton South).

“I would say they he won’t get re-selected but we will have to wait and see.”

According to the source local members aired their dissatisfaction over the PCC’s performance at Thursday’s meeting.

Though both Gavin Shuker and Kelvin Hopkins spoke in defence of Mr Martins, he did not gain the backing of the majority of the 40-50 Luton South members present.

The source added: “There have been a lot of issues with (Mr Martins) in the press, he has made a lot of gaffes.”

The PCC has claimed that those voting against him in Luton South were “anonymous and corrupt cowards” seeking revenge over his opposition to perceived ‘membership packing’ of the constituency.

He added that he ‘fully expects’ to remain on the ballot for Labour next May.

Another Labour source told the Luton News that members at Thursday’s meeting had been ‘bussed in’ for the vote and do not regularly take part in the party’s affairs.

They added that the row was another chapter in the “unfortunate conflict in the party.”

Should Mr Martins fail to be automatically re-selected he could still choose to stand on an open ballot.