Cardiff South and Penarth MP Alun Michael will be Labour’s candidate for South Wales’ first elected police commissioner, triggering a by-election for his seat in Parliament.
The 68-year-old former first secretary beat rival Paul Cannon, an ex-police inspector, by 1,142 votes to 1,058 to become the party’s candidate.
But as sitting MPs are barred from running for the role, he will have to quit his Cardiff South and Penarth seat, sparking a by-election later this year.
The seat includes the Cardiff wards of f Butetown, Grangetown, Llanrumney, Rumney, Splott and Trowbridge.
The police commissioner role is being introduced by the UK coalition government to replace the outgoing police authorities.
Although Labour opposed their introduction, the party is running candidates in every force area in Wales and England with the exception of London, where the mayor is already in charge. The election is on November 15.
Introducing the Labour candidates for all of Wales, First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “In Welsh Labour we recognise the vital importance of community safety and protecting communities.
“It is why one of our key pledges at the 2011 Assembly election was to recruit 500 extra community support officers.
“It is a clear signal on how we are different to the Tories.”
For Alun Michael, a former police minister in the last UK Labour government who still sits on the Commons Home Affairs committee, it will be a return to the big-time following his disastrous spell as the first-ever first secretary.
Yesterday he insisted that Labour fielding candidates in the elections would not lead to a politicisation of the police.
He said: “I think that the most important thing to note is that the work of the police must not be politicised, but actually law and order is an extremely political issue on which Labour has a stronger record than the Conservatives.
“That’s why it’ll be important for the commissioners to be working very closely with Carwyn and the ministers in the Welsh Government as well as with Owen and the team at Westminster.”
Falklands veteran Simon Weston, who is running as an independent, is the only other confirmed candidate in South Wales.
Labour is keen to hold the by-election on the same day as the commissioner election – November 15 – increasing the party’s turnout and thus Mr Michael’s chances, bluut it remains to be seen if the UK Government accepts this.