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Tory election candidate thinks his drunk and disorderly conviction means he "represents reality"

A Tory election candidate has claimed his conviction for being drunk and disorderly means he "represents reality".

Jonathan Dulston, 28, a police special constable, was chosen to contest a council seat for Theresa May’s party less than four months after being hauled before a district judge.

He was fined £120 with £85 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to being drunk and disorderly and obstructing police over a pub disturbance.

Earlier this month he took to Twitter to boast of his selection to stand as a candidate in a Darlington Council by-election.

He posted: “Great to be representing the @Conservatives in the Redhall & Lingfield ward bye Election... never been a fan of Rosettes though #justsaying.”

The poll, triggered by the resignation of the sitting Labour councillor, takes place on November 16.

Dulston told the Mirror he had been “very transparent” with the selection panel and owned up to his conviction.

And he claimed the fracas meant he was a candidate who “represents reality” and has “life experience”.

He said: “It’s not something I was proud of, it was a mistake but ultimately you can’t let mistakes in life define you as a person.

“We all do make mistakes and we don’t make the best choices sometimes.

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“But the population of Red Hall and Lingfield will see beyond that, they will see this is a person who has made a mistake but this is also a person who has made a huge contribution to his community.

“That’s what I want to focus on. It’s a shame that it happened.”

He pledged to have “conversations very openly with residents on the doorstep to say, ‘this is what’s happened’” - and even suggested his criminal record could make him more popular as a candidate.

“It’s not ideal but I think actually what people are looking for more than ever now is people who represent reality, people who do make mistakes - not the polished politicians who often patronise and look down to people and stand on their high horses,” he said.

“People want someone who is going to be reflective of society, people who have made mistakes and people who have got life experiences.

“Life experiences aren’t always positive, that’s the point.

“Sometimes, bad experiences can in some respects make you a stronger person and give you a greater insight into people’s lives.

“I’m not saying it makes me a stronger candidate - far from it, I’m not going to advocate getting a criminal conviction - but it’s opened my mind and allowed me to view things differently.

“It’s been a huge learning experience in terms of the high standards people expect when you put yourself at the forefront of politics.”

According to a local newspaper report, Dulston was causing a “nuisance” outside Harvey’s Late Bar, in Houndgate, Darlington, when door staff asked him to leave at about 2.30am on April 29.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard how officers were called when he repeatedly refused to move away from the pub, telling bouncers he was a police officer and had his warrant card.

CCTV footage showed Dulston in a scuffle with five officers, which led to him being charged with assaulting a police officer as he grabbed one of their arms.

That charge, denied by Dulston, was later dropped.

Prosecutor Rebecca Laverick said: “Officers were trying to speak to him but he was shouting over them. At one point he starts grabbing officers’ arms.”

She added: “A member of the public even got involved saying he was showing his police ID card and that behaviour from a special constable is not acceptable.”

Tom Morgan, defending, told the court Dulston had been a special constable for nearly two years and community volunteer for 11 years.

He added: “The defendant does not accept he was brandishing his warrant card.

“He is a driven individual who will have obviously lost his previous good character.”

Darlington Labour Party ’s campaign coordinator for Darlington Chris McEwan said: “I’m very surprised that Darlington Tories thought this man was a fit and proper person to represent the people of Red Hall and Lingfield.

“His recent behaviour and court appearance was in the local newspaper, so they must have known about his dodgy past.

“I can only think that like their MPs in Westminster, they’re completely out of touch with what matters to local people.”

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Tory election candidate thinks his drunk and disorderly conviction means he "represents reality"

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