A SENIOR figure in the Labour party has called for a North East police boss to be “suspended immediately” by the Conservatives following serious sexual assault allegations.

Last week, Cleveland PCC Steve Turner said he had no intention of standing down or resigning despite now facing a criminal investigation over an allegation of serious sexual assault.

He has not commented on the latest development, but a spokeswoman for his office confirmed it remained “business as usual” for the Conservative PCC and said he would not be stepping away from the role.

But now, Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said he should be suspended immediately and the Conservatives had ‘broken the public’s trust’.

He said: “Steve Turner should be suspended by the Conservatives immediately. He has admitted wrong doing in the past, something that the electorate in Cleveland was not aware of when he stood for office, and he is facing two current investigations. Once again the Conservatives have broken the public’s trust and shown they can’t be trusted to follow the rules.

“Rather than remaining silent, his friends who are ministers in the government and the Prime Minister should suspend him. It is astonishing he hasn’t already been suspended by the Conservative party.

“Days after the Prime Minister’s corrupt attempt to railroad his own MPs and Parliament into changing the rules for his scandal-hit friend Owen Paterson, this raises serious questions about whether ministers and the Conservative party are again rallying round to protect one of their own.”

Earlier today, Boris Johnson insisted the Conservatives are “absolutely dedicated to fighting crime” on a visit to the North East following controversies surrounding Tory police bosses in the region.

Speaking to broadcasters while on a visit to Hexham General Hospital in Northumberland, the PM was asked about controversies surrounding former Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire Philip Allott, and Mr Turner.

When asked whether the public could trust Tories up for election in the northeast, he said: “Conservatives are absolutely dedicated to fighting crime and what we do is we support our fantastic police officers, men and women, who put themselves in the line of danger every day.”

He added: “What our Police and Crime Commissioners do is hold the police to account and make sure they deliver for the public. That’s what they’re there to do.”

The Cleveland PCC was already subject to a referral being assessed by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) after Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald used Parliamentary privilege to accuse him of theft from a Safeway store in Norton, Teesside where he worked in the 1990s.

In an open letter Mr Turner subsequently admitted he had accepted a police caution over an “event” while employed by the former supermarket chain.

On Thursday it emerged that a second referral to the IOPC from the Cleveland police and crime panel concerned an alleged sex assault dating back to the 1980s.

The IOPC said it had now begun a “managed investigation” into these claims which would be carried by a police force from another area, while under the police watchdog’s control.

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