The News Portsmouth North election hustings told that voters are facing ‘watershed moment’

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VOTERS have been urged to have their say in what is set to be a ‘watershed moment’ in politics at the general election.

Candidates gunning for Portsmouth North believe all the signs indicate smaller parties hold the balance of power and another coalition government is on the cards.

(left to right) John Ferrett (Labour), Mike Fitzgerald (UKIP), Jon Woods (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), Howard Frost News Editor - The News Portsmouth, Penny Mordaunt (Conservative), Gavin Ellis (Green Party), and Darren Sanders (Lib Dem)''Picture by:  Malcolm Wells (150421-8115)

(left to right) John Ferrett (Labour), Mike Fitzgerald (UKIP), Jon Woods (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), Howard Frost News Editor - The News Portsmouth, Penny Mordaunt (Conservative), Gavin Ellis (Green Party), and Darren Sanders (Lib Dem)''Picture by: Malcolm Wells (150421-8115)

Speaking at last night’s News hustings at Highbury College, Green candidate Gavin Ellis said: ‘Right now we are taking polls and seeing Labour winning, the Tories winning, but none of them have a majority.

‘That’s where we could have a watershed moment because people are realising a vote for a smaller party like ourselves could influence the type of government we get.’

Ukip’s Mike FitzGerald said his party needed to get on board to resolve uncertainty over the country’s future in the EU. ‘This is an extremely important election,’ he said.

Jon Woods, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate, added: ‘More and more people are saying who they believe in, and that’s where Tusc joins in.’

Right now we are taking polls and seeing Labour winning, the Tories winning, but none of them have a majority.

Portsmouth North Green candidate Gavin Ellis

But Tory candidate Penny Mordaunt dismissed the claim, saying there was every chance her party would land a parliamentary majority.

Ms Mordaunt, who holds a 7,289 majority in Portsmouth North from the last election, said: ‘We have had a coalition, but the chances of that happening again are quite slim.

‘It’s going to be a battle between two parties.

‘We know how many seats we need to win and are doing well in the polls. We can form an outright majority government.’

Labour’s John Ferrett admitted poll results suggest there will be a coalition – but his party is fighting hard to take total control.

‘I don’t think we are in a position to get into coalition details this side of the election,’ he said.

‘That would be wrong and we need to work to get every Labour vote we can.’

But Lib Dem candidate Darren Sanders said: ‘No one party will form a majority.

‘It’s whether we want a coalition of the right that will not take climate change seriously, and has an ideological approach to cutting public services, or a coalition of the left, dragging us away from balancing the books, or do we want a coalition of the centre which will balance the books and provide the NHS people want.’

Tory candidate Penny Mordaunt came under fire as rivals claimed she had not done enough to keep shipbuilding in Portsmouth.

But Ms Mordaunt hit back and said a ‘grown-up’ needed to represent constituents.

‘Contrary to what has been said, we do have a shiphall saved and ships will be coming out of that,’ she said. ‘We need someone doing this job who is a grown-up.’

The Tories were also attacked over cuts to public services. Labour’s John Ferrett said: ‘On average, families over the last five years are £1,600 worse off. We have seen the loss of 1,500 highly skilled jobs in this city with the closure of the dockyard and our MP for Portsmouth North did nothing, and that is a disgrace.’