UK & World News
Prescott Loses Out On Police Chief Role
Labour's former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott has become the highest-profile casualty in the first elections for police commissioners in England and Wales.
His defeat in Humberside came on the back of record-low turnouts across England and Wales but Prime Minister David Cameron insisted the elections have been worthwhile.
In total, the Conservatives won 16 commissioner posts, Labour 13 and independents 12.
Lord Prescott led after the first round of votes but when second preference votes were totted up in Bridlington the 74-year-old was overtaken by Tory local businessman and councillor Matthew Grove.
In his victory speech, Mr Grove said: "I would like to pay tribute to the other candidates, but particularly to Lord Prescott, who I have found to be an utter gentleman and a very worthy opponent."
Lord Prescott replied: "Don't let it take away from the fact that I have reduced a 30,000 Tory majority in this area to 2,000.
"I wish you all the best, you have been selected as Humberside commissioner."
Lord Prescott said he did not think he would be standing for election again.
Nationwide, turnout in the police commissioner elections was at an all-time low, with as few as 10% of the electorate voting in some areas.
Despite £75m being spent on the campaign for the roles, the turnout is a new record low in a national poll carried out in peacetime - beating the 23% who voted in European elections in 1999.
One polling station, in the Newport area, was completely unused and the Electoral Reform Society branded the elections a "comedy of errors".
Mr Cameron sought to play down the reverse as a "classic mid-term result" made worse by the decision of MP Louise Mensch to quit to be with her family in the US.
He insisted the PCCs did have a mandate despite the dismal turnout and predicted public interest would rise once the commissioners began work.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said spending on the largely-ignored elections had been "bad for policing, bad for democracy and bad for taxpayers".
And Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron warned that commissioners - who will have powers to set force priorities and budgets as well as to hire and fire chief constables - would struggle to claim a mandate.
Complaints have centred on the Government's alleged failure to give the public enough information about the new role and the candidates - coupled with the poll being held in November's dark and cold conditions.
Electoral Commission chair Jenny Watson said the turnout was "a concern for everyone who cares about democracy" and said a "thorough review" would report its findings to Parliament early next year.
"These were new elections taking place at an unfamiliar time of year, which is why we have made clear at every stage that it would be important to engage effectively with voters," she said.
"The Government took a number of decisions about how to run these elections that we did not agree with.
"But what is important now is that the right lessons are learnt: we will talk to voters, candidates and returning officers to understand what worked and what didn't."