Labour forced me out, says Portsmouth Ukip councillor

Ukip's ''Stuart Potter. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (141244-589)
Ukip's ''Stuart Potter. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (141244-589)
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A UKIP councillor claims he was forced to move his advice sessions by the leader of Portsmouth’s Labour group.

Stuart Potter, who represents Paulsgrove for Ukip, says he was driven out of the area’s housing office after Cllr John Ferrett (pictured) told him he did not think it would work with two parties under the same roof.

100869-5264 JOHN FERRETT (AK) MRW 17/3/2010''John Ferrett (44) - Negotiations Officer for PROSPECT''Picture: Malcolm Wells (100869-5264) ENGPPP00120140901144456

100869-5264 JOHN FERRETT (AK) MRW 17/3/2010''John Ferrett (44) - Negotiations Officer for PROSPECT''Picture: Malcolm Wells (100869-5264) ENGPPP00120140901144456

Cllr Ferrett admitted he asked Cllr Potter to move as Labour had used the site for years.

But he strongly denies there being any bad blood and says the Ukip councillor was happy to go elsewhere.

It happened during Cllr Potter’s first public session after he was elected as Paulsgrove first Ukip councillor in May.

Cllr Potter now uses Paulsgrove Community Centre, which he says is not ideal as it is down a hill and could prove tricky for elderly and disabled residents.

‘I’m disappointed,’ Cllr Potter said.

‘I was just going to continue at Paulsgrove housing office and be a pain in Cllr Ferrett’s side, but I thought better of it.

‘I came back to hold my second session at the housing office, and as soon as any member of the public walked in, the Labour councillors would just pounce on them.

‘Cllr Ferrett has shown his true colours and would rather have a dictatorship than a democracy.

‘It just seems to me the Labour councillors don’t care.

‘Everyone knows that Paulsgrove housing office is where they can go and see their councillors.’

As reported, Cllr Potter clinched the Paulsgrove seat left vacant by Labour’s Jim Patey, who decided not to stand again after 27 years in the role.

Cllr Ferrett, who also represents Paulsgrove, said: ‘No-one has been forced out.

‘This was through negotiation with the housing office, with the head of the housing association in Paulsgrove and as we understand it, Cllr Potter agreed to it.

‘That is where we had already been holding our surgeries.’

He added: ‘I didn’t think it was appropriate for the parties to be holding joint surgeries.’