THE leader of Portsmouth City Council could become the next MP for Fareham after she was revealed as one of the shortlisted candidates for the Conservatives.
Councillor Donna Jones is one of four prospective candidates preparing to fight for her place as the new MP for the town to replace Tory MP Mark Hoban, who has announced he is stepping down.
Cllr Jones took over as leader of Portsmouth City Council last May.
She said: ‘I was delighted to be invited to apply for the Fareham parliamentary vacancy. I’m thrilled to be shortlisted for the final four.’
Cllr Jones said she has two main priorities should she eventually be elected.
‘The job has two roles. One is being a strong constituency MP spending a large amount of my time in Fareham meeting people and helping community businesses and residents,’ she said.
‘The second is working hard as a member of the government in London.
‘The constituency has a need for improved infrastructure – and a lot more affordable housing.
‘The average house price in Fareham is £280,000. The constituency has some challenges in terms of the fact that young people find it very difficult to get on to the property ladder.
‘Also the roads getting in and out of Fareham are a nightmare.
‘The bottlenecks need sorting out and that’s the job of an MP.’
Cllr Jones will be up against Jeremy Quin, from Buckingham, Nick Rose from Bournemouth and Suella Fernandes from London.
Mr Rose said: ‘For Fareham it’s very exciting for me because of the hi-tech industry in the area. I have run and set up my own electricals company for the past 23 years in Bournemouth.
‘For me to come to an area which is thriving with hi-tech businesses – especially along the M27 corridor where constituents would work – is great because I can champion something that’s close to my heart.
‘We have got an elderly population in Fareham and I would like to make sure there are enough community activities for our elderly people so that they remain fit and active.’
Mr Rose also said education is a key priority for him.
‘It’s not just about changing the laws and making things better, it’s also about championing your constituency and making sure funding comes to your area,’ he added.
The News was unable to contact Mr Quin and Ms Fernandes.
A hustings event to select the final candidate will be held at Fareham College on Saturday. Each candidate will be interviewed and members of the Conservative group will then take a vote.