Councillor looking ahead to election after role change

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UKIP councillor Chris Wood has no animosity towards fellow party members despite losing his deputy leader role.

Cllr Wood, who is a prospective parliamentary candidate for Gosport, was replaced as deputy leader of the Ukip Hampshire County Council group after just six months in the role.

But he said the change in positions means he can concentrate on his election campaign against current Gosport MP, Conservative Caroline Dinenage.

Cllr Wood, who also represents Stubbington at Fareham Borough Council and Crofton at Hampshire County Council, said: ‘There have been many changes in the group since last May’s election.

‘Ray Finch stepped down after being elected as an MEP and was replaced by Phil Fawkes.

‘He chose me as his deputy leader and I was happy to take on the role.’

But after just six months, Cllr Fawkes stepped down to spend more time with his family and Cllr Tony Hook took over.

With this, Cllr Wood was replaced by Cllr Andy Moore.

Cllr Wood added: ‘The leader always picks their deputy and Tony picked Andy.

‘It makes perfect sense for the change because I am the only one who is running to become an MP in the general election.

‘It makes sense for me to concentrate on the campaign and my wards for the county and borough councils.’

Looking ahead to the general election in May, Cllr Wood said Ms Dinenage will be difficult to beat.

‘I don’t have the many resources that the Tories have,’ he said.

‘We have got a set number of targets that will get the funding and the rest will go elsewhere.

‘I have not been promised any funding but I have been getting support from other places.

‘But it is an unfair fight. They have a vast amount of resources that we cannot match.

‘Unless something changes in the funding of the campaign, it is likely that I would come second, not first.’