Concerns over Tory election candidate’s drink driving conviction
Genevieve Riviere’s election campaign includes photos posing with Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez – who is the national lead for roads safety – Tory MP Johnny Mercer, Michael Gove and even the Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Concerns have been raised about a would-be Plymouth city councillor who is campaigning about law and order despite being a convicted drink-driver currently banned from the roads. Conservative candidate for Stoke Genevieve Riviere’s election leaflets and associated social media posts feature her alongside police and crime commissioner (PCC) Alison Hernandez.
Just six months ago, Ms Riviere was handed a 17-month drink-driving ban, fined £230 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £34 victim surcharge. She now wants to represent the Conservatives in the Stoke area of the city and is promoting her candidature by being seen alongside leading Tories.
Last week, Ms Riviere met the secretary of state for levelling up, communities and housing Michael Gove, which Stoke Ward Conservatives promoted as “Genevieve Riviere putting Stoke Ward on the radar of the Rt. Hon. Michael Gove.” In February, she was pictured with chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak. And Plymouth Moor View MP Johnny Mercer appears with her in a photo at Smeaton’s Tower.
In her campaign leaflets, Ms Riviere describes how she believes in “combatting crime and anti-social behaviour,” and her Facebook page shows her meeting police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez in the ward. Ms Hernandez is the PCC national lead for road safety, and also chair of the South West Road Safety Peninsular Partnership – a road safety coalition campaigning to eradicate road traffic deaths by 2040.
One local resident who does not want to be named said: “This is supposed to be people setting an example. How can [Ms Riviere] be seen out campaigning with a police and crime commissioner who is trying to improve road safety?”
Asked about her prominence in election publicity of a prospective Conservative councillor convicted of road safety offences, Ms Hernandez responded only about general issues around road safety.
In a statement, she wrote: “It’s a fact that many ordinary people who are normally law abiding fail to consider their driving behaviour when behind the wheel, from speeding to drink or drug driving. It’s one of our communities’ biggest concerns.”
She continued: “It’s why I’ve invested in roads policing to help identify and rectify the potential serious damage that people can do on our roads to others. From educating us on speed awareness training to more serious prosecutions of prison sentences.
“I know life can be stressful and people aren’t always thinking of others which is why we must do everything we can to help remind people of the consequences. Through the Vision Zero partnership collectively we want zero road deaths and serious injuries by 2040 and we still have a long way to go to achieve that. I’m thankful the police are out there doing their job on our roads and catching people to prevent a serious incident occurring.”
In January Ms Hernandez spoke about the police’s Christmas drink-driving campaign in which 200 arrests were made.
“Drink and drug driving is a choice people take which endangers lives and it is completely unacceptable,” she said.
Ahead of that campaign, she said: “Those found guilty of this crime face losing their licence and even going to prison, which could cost you your job and livelihood.”
Because Ms Riviere’s conviction did not result in a prison sentence of more than three months, she is eligible to stand as a councillor. The court hearing was covered by PlymouthLive in October last year here.
She is not the only Plymouth Tory who has faced recent drink-driving convictions. Cllr John Riley (Cons, Moor View) was banned from driving two years ago. Cllr Riley is cabinet member for governance, HR, IT and community safety; a role which has responsibility for crime and anti-social behaviour and the Safer Plymouth Community Safety Partnership.
Genevieve Riviere and the chairman of Plymouth, Sutton Devonport Conservatives were both contacted about this issue but said they had nothing to add to the statement by the police and crime commissioner.