Tory Mid-Beds candidate faces questions about taking leave from taxpayer funded job to campaign


Tory candidate Festus Akinbusoye is facing questions over whether he has taken any paid leave from his taxpayer funded Police and Crime Commissioner role to campaign to win Thursday’s Mid-Bedfordshire by-election.

Labour criticizes potential use of public funds

But critics are asking whether these were taken during days he is still paid from the public purse to serve as a PCC. Taking paid leave from a publicly funded role to campaign isn’t illegal – but Labour say it would be shocking if Mr Akinbusoye took unpaid days away from the desk instead. The opposition party estimates Mr Akinbusoye could’ve raked in £20,000 of his salary across more than 90 days spent vying for votes. The figures were put to the Conservative Party who chose not to comment.

Labour sees opportunity for change

A Labour source told HOAR: "After years of neglect with Nadine Dorries, it’s clear the new Tory candidate in Mid Beds offers more of the same. "It doesn’t have to be this way. The people of Mid Bedfordshire have the chance to vote for change with Labour this Thursday."

Increase in crime during Akinbusoye's tenure

Since Mr Akinbusoye’s election as Police and Crime Commissioner, Bedfordshire has seen an 18% increase in sexual offences and a 24% increase in the rates of shoplifting in the county.

Concerns for Rishi Sunak and the Tories

It comes as Rishi Sunak is braced for a double by-election beating this Thursday, with the Tories on course to lose Tamworth and Mid-Bedfordshire. After a final weekend of campaigning, even the PM’s most loyal backers have branded both seats "tough" and "dire". There’s concern that traditional Tory voters "just won’t turnout". And party strategists are downbeat at the PM’s failure to bag a post-conference poll bounce. Hopes of holding on to Mid-Beds were dashed as the Lib Dems pulled off from attacking Labour earlier this month, opting for Tory votes instead. It would be the biggest ever majority overturned if Labour won the seat, with Tamworth also being chalked up as a heavy loss for the PM.

No comment from the Conservative Party

The Conservative Party declined to comment.