Anger as Lib Dems plaster signs on old Labour club

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A FORMER Labour Party club has been plastered with placards backing Lib Dem Gerald Vernon-Jackson to be the next MP for Portsmouth South.

Campaigners have been putting up signs across the city supporting the Lib Dem candidate – and decided to make a statement on the outside of the prominent building, on Coburg Street near the city centre.

Permission was given by the building’s tenant to stick up the diamond-shaped signs as the Lib Dems steps up its campaigning ahead of the general election on May 7.

But Labour councillors have not seen the funny side – and say it is not respectful to the party and that the signs should come down.

It comes after Portsmouth City Council removed signs backing Cllr Vernon-Jackson on the site of the former Pitt Street baths as it owns the land and permission was not given.

Cllr John Ferrett, Labour parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth North, said: ‘We don’t own it so we don’t have any control over what goes on it.

‘But I am still very disappointed and upset as that is a building where I learned my political trade, and now it is being used by the Lib Dems.

‘It’s a ruse. The Lib Dems think they are very clever in doing that.

‘That building was built and paid for by Labour members many years ago.

‘They could have shown some respect for that.’

Cllr Luke Stubbs, Tory deputy council leader, said: ‘Covering it with Lib Dem posters is an attempt to confuse people and somehow suggest Labour voters should vote tactically for the Lib Dems.’

Cllr Vernon-Jackson didn’t think there was any harm done.

‘We got permission from the owner,’ he said.

‘It’s a really prominent position on the main road into the city. It’s very good to find that so many local residents and businesses are supporting me.

‘The campaign is going really well.’

The Lib Dem has written to the council’s chief executive, David Williams, to complain about the way things were handled at the Pitt Street site.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said an agreement had been made the signs would be removed by the site’s tenant – but they were instead done so by ‘force’ by the council.