LABOUR leader Keir Starmer has called for Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Steve Turner to step down while an investigation over an allegation of serious sexual assault takes place. 

Mr Turner has insisted he has no intention of standing down or resigning despite the criminal investigation, and reasserted his desire to continue his role earlier this week. 

In a statement, released on Wednesday evening the newly-elected PCC said standing down would result in “political carnage” as he hit back at critics.

Speaking on BBC Radio Tees on Wednesday morning, Starmer criticised Mr Turner and the Conservative Party for shunning the allegations. 

Read more: Police boss refuses to quit in explosive 600-word statement aimed at enemies

He said: "This is a test for Steve Turner and he should step down. It's also a test for the Conservative Party. When there's a serious investigation like this the attitude of the political parties and the Prime Minister matters, and he should step down. 

"If you take other examples in relation to the Labour Party, we have always acted swiftly. And the idea that somehow it's in the public good for him to stay in public office is completely wrong - we've seen this before. 

"Whilst the investigation is going on he should step down. That is the obviously right thing to do. 

"That's why there's so much pressure on him, but this is the same old reaction that we've seen so many times which is 'yes there's a serious criminal investigation, yes there are serious issues but I'm not going to do anything about it'. 

"Where's the leadership from the Tory party on this? What are they saying about it?"

Read more: Tell us whether Cleveland PCC Steve Turner should stay or go in poll

The Tory PCC, who was elected in May, was already subject to a separate referral being assessed by the 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. 

The Northern Echo: Steve Turner, the under pressure PCC for ClevelandSteve Turner, the under pressure PCC for Cleveland

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

The lengthy and explosive statement issued by Mr Turner's lawyers said: “I cannot allow one anonymous allegation to bring into jeopardy the democratic process and the wishes of the public who took part in my election.

 “To do so would create an incredibly dangerous precedence potentially creating Political carnage across the entire country. I am committed to democracy and the Justice system.”

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