Spotlight will be on Portsmouth South election hustings

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IT has been billed the most hotly contested seat in the general election.

Eyes will be on Portsmouth South come May 7 as voters decide whether sitting MP Mike Hancock deserves to stay or go.

In the meantime, constituents will get the chance to ask Mr Hancock and other candidates competing for his role how they can deliver.

The News is holding its Portsmouth South hustings in conjunction with Coffin Mew at the University of Portsmouth’s Portland Building on Thursday, April 23.

Talk over Portsmouth South has hotted up since Mr Hancock declared he will defend his position.

The independent is going up against: former ally and Lib Dem candidate, Gerald Vernon-Jackson; Tory Flick Drummond; Labour’s Sue Castillon; Ukip’s Steve Harris; Ian McCulloch of the Green Party; and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate, Sean Hoyle.

It is expected each candidate will be attending the hustings.

There is talk over whether the Lib Dem vote will be split as people decide whether they want to remain loyal to Mr Hancock – despite having publicly admitting last year to forming an ‘inappropriate friendship’ with a vulnerable female constituent when he was a Fratton councillor.

Whether a split in the vote could play into the hands of one of the other candidates specifically is anyone’s guess.

Historically, the seat has been a two-horse race between the Tories and Lib Dems for the last 100 years.

But a rise in the popularity of fringe parties like Ukip and the Greens could make a difference.

Labour should not be ruled out either.

Mr Hancock holds a 5,200 majority from the last general election. Our next hustings is being held tonight for Fareham constituents wanting to meet their candidates.

The event at Fareham College starts at 6.30pm.

Visitors must arrive at 6pm.

The next hustings dates, being held at the same time, are:

- HAVANT: Monday, April 20; Havant Borough Council’s Public Service Plaza, Civic Centre Road, Havant, PO9 2AX.

- PORTSMOUTH NORTH: Tuesday, April 21; Highbury College, Tudor Crescent, Portsmouth, PO6 2SA

- PORTSMOUTH SOUTH: Thursday, April 23; University of Portsmouth’s Portland Building, Portland Street, Portsmouth, PO1 3AH

If you would like to attend any of the hustings, email events@coffinmew.co.uk

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