THE race is on to find out who will be the Portsmouth South MP after the next general election – and the odds are in on which party could clinch the seat.
Speculation over what will happen has hotted up since Mike Hancock, the current MP, went independent after resigning the parliamentary whip from the Lib Dems.
It is unknown whether he’ll stand again at the election next year, either as a Lib Dem or to represent himself, because he’s said several times it depends on his health.
But it looks like the party, whichever candidate it decides to choose, could retain the seat as it’s odds-on favourite at this stage at 1/2.
Right up there is the Conservatives, at 3/1, and behind it are Ukip, at 10/1, Labour at 16/1 and Mr Hancock as an independent has got an outside chance of staying at 20/1.
Flick Drummond is the Conservative’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the second election running.
She has billed herself as a ‘community MP’ who as well as setting up the Pompey Job Club and Pompey Litter Pickers, is forming a new business forum, which launches on February 5.
She said: ‘Mike has been a very popular MP.
‘I’m doing a lot of social action projects which will make an impact in the community.
‘I work hard and I hope that will help my chances in 2015.’
Ukip candidate, Douglas Denny, was a Conservative councillor for Milton between 1982 and 1986.
He said: ‘If I became MP I would challenge everyone in Parliament over defence issues.
‘The navy and army have been decimated in the last 20 years.’
Labour’s candidate, Sue Castillon, said she wants to focus on getting back the confidence of residents who feel disillusioned by the council’s handling of its investigation into Mr Hancock’s conduct. As reported, he has been accused of sexual assault and the probe into the claims has been delayed pending the outcome of a civil case. He denies the allegations
Mrs Castillon said: ‘The feedback I’m getting when I knock people’s doors is they are embarrassed about what is happening in the council. I feel I can position myself as a genuine person who can represent people’s interests.’
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the city’s Liberal Democrats group, said while he hadn’t shown an interest in becoming a Lib Dem candidate yet, he didn’t rule out ever doing so.
‘If there was a vacant seat then I might show an interest, but there isn’t a vacant seat,’ he said.
Cllr Hancock was unavailable for comment.