PORTSMOUTH’S deputy Conservative group leader Luke Stubbs has denied rumours about him defecting to Ukip.
It comes after he was spotted in The Corner Cafe in Southsea, with Leonardo Ciccarone, who is treasurer of the party’s Portsmouth branch.
Someone who saw them thought Cllr Stubbs was talking about the possibility of joining Ukip to become a Portsmouth South MP candidate.
Councillors were told about this and decided to bring it up at a full council meeting.
Mike Hancock, the current Portsmouth South MP and a Fratton councillor, said: ‘Someone overheard someone telling Cllr Stubbs “if you really want to be an MP, leave the Tories and come to us”.
‘Some people who know you (Cllr Stubbs) may not have liked what you said.’
When Cllr Stubbs tried addressing something on the agenda, Southsea councillor Lee Hunt said: ‘This is more about your personal ambitions and your intention to be the Ukip MP.’
Conservative councillor Simon Bosher said the references had ‘no relevance’ to the things being debated on the agenda.
Cllr Stubbs has since said it was Mr Ciccarone he had met with and the pair had known each other for 10 years.
He couldn’t recall whether Mr Ciccarone had brought the topic up.
He said: ‘They (councillors) are referring to Leonardo Ciccarone, whom I have known for a long time.
‘I don’t remember him asking me about that.
‘It’s comical to say I am thinking of defecting. It’s all nonsense.
‘I know people in other parties; so what? That includes Ukip.
‘So do some of the other councillors.
‘It’s just them trying to stir things up. It’s the usual thing in the council chamber.
‘It’s just one of those games.’
Ukip recently won its first seats on Hampshire and West Sussex county councils. It has drawn up a short list for Portsmouth South in 2015, but has not selected a candidate.