Today in Parliament
What the average salary is of deputy police and crime commissioners.
Not every police and crime commissioner has appointed a deputy. Whether PCCs decide to have a deputy, and what salary that person should be paid, is for the PCC to decide. They must publish that salary. PCCs are accountable to the public, and it will be for them to justify their deputy PCC’s salary.
The maladroit election timing, the sinfully wasteful funding, the creation of cronyism and the sapping of democracy make the setting up of police commissioners one of the most egregious examples of political incompetence, and it will be seen in the future as an example of the coalition’s signature policy in creating its ineptocracy.
The hon. Gentleman, apart from having a way with the English language, is slightly confused. The idea that having directly elected posts is in any way anti-democratic seems perverse. As my hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr Hollobone) illustrated, we now have police and crime commissioners in operation all over the country. Indeed, several former colleagues of the hon. Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn) are now PCCs, and I wish them all well in their new jobs.
The hon. Gentleman asked about the cost of the deputies. The highest-paid deputy at the moment has been appointed at £68,000 a year—[Interruption.] I am interested that Labour Members are shocked by that figure, because that was an appointment of the Labour PCC for Northumbria, Mrs Vera Baird, QC.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Only about once every two or three centuries does this House consider the supremely important matter of the succession of the Head of State. The Government propose to rush the Bill through both Houses in a single day, so it will not be possible to have a proper debate on the new clauses and amendments. The anxiety about this matter is not confined to commoners.
I note what the hon. Gentleman tells me, but I know that he will appreciate that the programme motion for such matters is not a matter for me. He may be very genuinely concerned about the length of time available for debate on these issues and his concerns will have been heard, but, to put it bluntly, there is nothing I can do about it now and I am not sure that there is anything I can do about it at any stage. However, he has vented his displeasure and I hope that that at least gives him some satisfaction.
And he is in agreement with the heir to the throne for the first time in 200 years.
Order. We are always grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his helpful observations from a sedentary position, but we will come now to the main business.