Home Secretary Sajid Javid says Cambridgeshire police will have 'highest number of officers ever' as he remains coy on Tory leadership bid
Cambridgeshire police will have its 'highest number of officers ever', the Home Secretary said, in response to criticisms about police cuts.
Sajid Javid was in Peterborough today campaigning alongside Conservative candidate Paul Bristow ahead of the June 6 by-election.
Mr Javid, who remained coy on whether he will seek to become his party's leader following the resignation of Theresa May, insisted the Tories will deliver on Brexit and re-iterated Mr Bristow's stance that voting for anther candidate will ensure victory for Labour.
The Labour candidate, Lisa Forbes, has made highlighting cuts to policing one of her key messages during the by-election - a claim which has drawn an angry response from police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite, a former Conservative council leader.
MORE: Peterborough crime chief hits back at Labour by-election candidate’s claim he ‘doesn’t know what’s happening’ in the cityCouncil tax to rise in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire to pay for 50 more police officersCambridgeshire police has announced recruitment of 155 new officers recently (105 last year and 50 this year), the majority of which have been funded through increasing council tax.
Asked about Ms Forbes' comments while leafleting today (Saturday) in Gunthorpe, Mr Javid said: "We are seeing an extra investment in policing. There's more than a £10 million increase for Cambridgeshire policing this year, an increase in officers of more than 100.
"Once that plan is implemented that will be the highest number of officers Cambridgeshire has ever had. That shows really good progress."
Mr Bristow said: "We will be tough on crime. You need to make the case for your city, and the last MP for Peterborough never once met our police and crime commissioner and never once made the case for Peterborough. That will all change when I'm elected as the MP."
The last MP for Peterborough was Fiona Onasanya whose conviction and jailing for perverting the course of justice triggered a Recall Petition. More than 27 per cent of her constituents signed the petition, well above the 10 per cent threshold needed to trigger the by-election.
Ms Onasanya was voted in as a Labour MP but was expelled by the party the day after she was found guilty by a jury.
In Peterborough the Brexit Party is seen as the frontrunner by the bookies to claim the seat, but Mr Javid said: "The only way we can deliver Brexit is by having a strong, Conservative government.
"The Brexit Party is standing here, but if you vote for any other candidate other than Paul you will let in Corbyn's Labour candidate, an absolutely divided party that has no policy whatsoever on Brexit. They don't even agree that Brexit needs to happen.
"In the Conservatives everyone is united in that Brexit needs to happen, and what we are seeing is a way forward to make that the case."
The Home Secretary said of his party's candidate: "He is a local man who cares very deeply about his local community - a local businessman who has already done a lot for his community, and he wants to do more. And the best way to do that is to become the Member of Parliament.
"Peterborough has been let down very badly by the former Member of Parliament, and in Paul you have someone with an action plan that's going to do so much, whether it's around jobs, investment, cutting congestion and fighting crime."
Asked whether he will be back in Peterborough soon as Prime Minister, Mr Javid refused to confirm or deny whether he intended to put his name forward for the upcoming Conservative leadership contest. He replied: "You will definitely see me here again for one reason or another."
All of the candidates for the by-election can be viewed on our website.