Lib Dems hope local issues sway voters

Campaigners holding information morning in Portsmouth on state pensions

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NATIONALLY the Liberal Democrats have seen their popularity take a tumble since they entered into the coalition.

But despite a widespread backlash that has hit many local councils, parts of our area have bucked the trend.

Now many Lib Dem candidates think that while the last two years have damaged the party’s image, it won’t be national issues which decide things on May 3.

Charles Dickens ward councillor, Portsmouth Lib Dem Margaret Foster, said: ‘It is more local issues.

‘I have had a couple of people talking about Clegg and the coalition, but on the whole I’m quite surprised there haven’t been more comments.

‘You wouldn’t believe it but the biggest issue I keep hearing about is dog fouling. People want more dog bins.

‘I’m just keeping my fingers crossed because you can never predict these things.’

Gosport Lib Dem chairman, Cllr Rob Hylands, is defending his seat in Brockhurst and hopes the national issues won’t play much of a role.

He said: ‘I’m hoping it won’t make much difference because I would like to carry on with what I’m doing after this election.

‘I’m sure we are up against it a bit, but I would hope that people don’t punish us for failings of the national party.’

Havant Lib Dem councillor Faith Ponsonby is defending her ward in Battins and said: ‘Most local people in Havant realise that we are the only opposition that our very blue council has. They realise we are not in coalition down here.’

And in his fight for Portsmouth’s Cosham ward Tory councillor Jim Fleming said he doesn’t think that national popularity will affect the outcome of the election.

‘It’s possible that national issues could have an impact,’ he said.

‘But what people are really asking is “who is going to do the best job for the local area?”.

‘People have become quite disenfranchised with the main parties and are being more discerning about their votes.’