It may not have been at 5,000-1 but Labour peer Willy Bach emulated his favourite football team to pull off the shock result in the 2016 police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections — against all odds.
Lord Willy Bach: There won't
be many weeks like this
In the week the Blues of Leicester City stunned the sporting world by wrenching the Premier title from football's elite — the former Shadow Attorney General stunned the Conservatives by winning the Leicestershire PCC poll by nearly 20,000 votes.
Few gave Lord Bach a chance over his Tory rival Neil Bannister. The Conservatives had held the post going into Thursday's poll and, with incumbent Sir Clive Loader stepping down, had looked certain favourites to succeed.
However, a storming performance in Leicester, where Lord Bach secured 30,000 more votes than Mr Bannister, tipped the balance to give Labour one of three gains from the Conservatives in England.
Under the supplementary vote system used in the election, neither Lord Bach nor his Tory opponent achieved the 50 per cent of the votes needed to win on first preference ballots cast.
But after Lib Dem candidate Sarah Hill and UKIP's David Sprason were eliminated and their first preference voters' second choices were counted, Lord Bach's victory was confirmed with a huge 19,883 majority.
Lord Bach, who secured 78,188 votes to Mr Bannister's 58,305, said: "This week began with my beloved football team winning the Premier League, and ended with me being elected to this post.
"It has been very special. There won't be many weeks like this," he told the Leicester Mercury.
He was in gracious in praising Tory predecessor Sir Clive Loader for his "distinguished service" to the people of Leicestershire and Rutland, and his election rivals. Lord Bach said his tenure would focus on neighbourhood policing, which he said was "the glue that connects the police and the community", and tackling domestic violence.
After his defeat was announced, Mr Bannister said: "I am clearly disappointed, but I congratulate Willy. "I want to say all the candidates have fought good, civil, respectful campaigns.
"This is democracy in action and I completely respect the voice of the voters."
Mr Bannister, who quit his job as a senior Crown Prosecution Service lawyer to focus on campaigning, said he would be re-applying for his old post.
Leicester East MP Keith Vaz, who attended the count at Whitwick's Hermitage Leisure Centre in Coalville to support Lord Bach, said: "Willy is a true Leicestershire commissioner and has served this county his whole life.
"And he's won a seat, which I tell you, in some of the gloom we have had recently is a real achievement.
"In a week where the Blues did very well, this is one little red rose," added Mr Vaz, chairman of the Commons' Home Affairs Select Committee.
Sir Clive said he was not disappointed Labour had won. But he added: "The democratic voice has spoken.
"He may have some different priorities to me but I have every reason to believe Willy will be a fine PCC."
Turn-out in the election was however disappointingly low with less than 20 per cent of voters casting a ballot.
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