Well, this is embarrassing – for This Writer and for the Brexit Party.
Nigel Farage’s company-posing-as-a-political party has been threatening to stand a candidate in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election – but when it did, so few people noticed that I got the wrong end of the stick and wrote a story about something involving him that happened 13 years ago, by mistake.
The genuinely amusing aspect of this is that nobody noticed. I only discovered the mistake when my source contacted me at around 2.30am to tell me they thought I’d got the timeline muddled up.
(I must, of course, take this opportunity to sincerely apologise for the mix-up, which was due to me being sent background information about the gentleman in question by my source, without any links to the announcement.)
So the story is that the Brexit Party’s candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire is a “rainbow” man who has flitted between hard right-wing parties after quitting a council job from which he had been suspended.
Desmond Parkinson is a former police chief superintendent and former national assistant secretary of the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales. While in these roles, it seems he did score some notable achievements – it is said that he was responsible for the creation of the Sex Offenders Register and also championed a successful campaign to ban handguns following the Dunblane tragedy in 1996.
And he was said to have fought to overturn the double jeopardy law, thereby enabling the convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence. One wonders what he thinks of Marc Wadsworth, the anti-racism activist who campaigned for justice for the Lawrence family but was subsequently and falsely accused of anti-Semitism by the Labour Party.
He was employed by Telford and Wrekin Council as a senior licensing officer in 2004 but was suspended from that position in 2006. Neither the council nor Mr Parkinson himself would comment on the reasons for his suspension, according to the Shropshire Star.
He resigned as a council officer the following year, it seems, and I have been able to find no further information about that matter.
He next appeared six years later when – in 2012 – he stood as Conservative candidate to be the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, losing to Independent Bill Longmore.
Then – in 2016 – he sought election as the UKIP candidate to be Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner, losing to Plaid Cymru’s Dafydd Llewelyn. It seems he also campaigned as a UKIP candidate for election to the Welsh Assembly at the same time.
The following year, he switched parties to become a Conservative candidate for a Welshpool Town Council seat in 2017.
Now he has switched loyalties again – to the Brexit Party.
Can you really trust someone who changes his allegiance with the wind? Someone who was suspended from a position of responsibility with a local authority for reasons unknown, and quit before it was possible for the public to find out what those reasons were?
According to the BBC, Mr Parkinson said the by-election was a “matter of integrity” and people had been “let down” by the Conservatives.
Fine words. A man who forged expenses claims (Chris Davies – who was re-selected as Tory candidate against all reason) being criticised by one who left his licensing job under a cloud – and both have been members of the Conservative Party, which tends to indicate that that organisation will let anybody in!
And what does it say about the Brexit Party when it takes in Tory cast-offs?
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