The Home Secretary Theresa May visited Bedford today (April 7) to boost the campaigns of local Conservative politicians standing in the forthcoming elections.
Mrs May met prospective parliamentary candidate Richard Fuller, mayoral candidate Jas Parmar and Bedford Borough Council candidate for Castle Ward Shish Miah at Fresco’s coffee shop.
During her stop, she was able to comment on some of the issues which effect Bedfordshire.
On the subject of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s referendum to raise council tax to pay for more police officers, Mrs May said it was for local people to decide to vote for or against it.
She said: “It is not for me to say what Police and Crime Commissioners do about their officers. We have given local authorities funding to freeze council tax but if the Commissioner wants to raise the police precept higher than a small amount, there needs to be a referendum.”
While forces across the country are facing unprecedented budget cuts, Mrs May said extra funding has gone to the police to tackle child sex abuse and online crimes.
Attention has recently been turned to the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre after allegations that the women detainees have been mistreated by staff.
Mrs May said independent reviews are being carried out into the centre and the policy of detaining asylum seekers.
In support of the policy she said: “When people are due to be removed it is necessary to detain them. Sometimes it is difficult to get the documentation to return them to their home country.
“However, a Conservative governemnt will look closely at at what comes of those reviews.”
Despite the three local candidates all being men, she did give assurance that nationally, there are “good numbers” of women standing for election.
She said: “When parliament is on TV, it is mostly Prime Minister’s Questions, which is a hothouse atmosphere. What is rarely shown is the regular, day-to-day departmental meetings, select committees and public bill committees where people are far more cooperative.
“There is a lot of other work going on behind the scenes. Women should feel able to stand for office, it’s hugely fulfilling.”
But for now, she is focussing on winning the General Election. “It’s important to win sufficient seats to for a majority government,” she said.
“We need a Conservative government to continue with the recovery plan. We are seeing that recovery and we want to make sure that it continues.”