War of words over 'axing' of Gloucestershire police force
A WAR of words has broken out between Gloucester MP Richard Graham and his Labour predecessor Parmjit Dhanda over old plans to merge Gloucestershire's police force into a bigger regional force.
Mr Graham told Parliament that Mr Dhanda had "campaigned specifically to abolish the Gloucestershire constabulary" – the very force his wife Rupi wants to head up as a candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections on November 15.
Mr Dhanda used a Twitter comment on Wednesday to hit back and refute the claim he had called for the force's abolition.
The attack on the former Labour MP referred to comments he had made in The Citizen back in 2005, when plans to merge the Gloucestershire Constabulary with other regions were on the cards.
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In the article he said: "I want a bigger police force because I want a better police force."
Mr Dhanda told The Citizen yesterday: "Richard Graham had an opportunity to speak up for the 125 police officers that are about to lose their job and for the thousands of people who depend on Barton Street police station.
"He chose not to do those things, but instead attack me personally and accuse me of telling lies about abolishing the constabulary."
But Mr Graham has since said: "This is a curious accusation. All the evidence suggests that Mr Dhanda supported a regionalisation of our constabulary."
The fierce debate between the pair comes just two days after Mrs Dhanda launched her campaign to win the £65,000 role of Police and Crime Commissioner.