Berwick election candidate deselected by Labour
Labour has dropped its candidate for Berwick East at the forthcoming elections after revelations came to light about his past.
Paul Hodgson, who is already a town councillor, was sacked from the Isle of Man Constabulary in 2011.
It is understood that, while employed by the force as a crime analyst, he took a marked police car and drove to a nearby pub where he posed in a chief inspector’s uniform for photographs with girls on a hen do.
The pictures were later seen on facebook and Mr Hodgson was questioned over allegations of impersonating a police officer and taking a vehicle without consent.
Following an investigation, Mr Hodgson was given a caution, and his contract was terminated.
Labour carried out its own investigation after it became aware of the incident.
A party spokesman said: “Paul Hodgson is no longer a Labour Party candidate in the Northumberland County Council elections.”
The party has not yet named a replacement candidate.
Mr Hodgson, who represents Stadium Ward on Berwick Town Council, has so far been unavailable for comment.
The declared candidates for Berwick East at the moment are town councillor Georgina Hill, who is standing as an independent, and Conservative candidate Hayley Nichols.
Coun Peter Jackson, leader of the Conservative opposition, criticised the Labour Party for selecting Mr Hodgson as their candidate.
He said: “These revelations about a Labour candidate for the county council elections are truly shocking.
“A county councillor is elected to a position of trust responsible for a budget of over £400m per year but, more importantly, often deal with sensitive matters regarding vulnerable individuals including the elderly as well as children.
“To think that our local Labour Party think that Paul Hodgson is a fit person to be put forward as their official candidate is simply incredible.”
He added: “Along with the recent revelation that Ian Lavery MP has had to make an apology to Parliament about his lack of financial disclosure, this sorry episode goes to show that the Labour leadership of Northumberland County Council could have many questions to answer and that there is a need for real change in Northumberland in the county elections on 4th May. Only the Conservatives will have enough councillors to oust this Labour control which has done so much damage to the north of our county and to bring back local control.”