POLITICAL tensions have arisen over the proposed relocation of Portsmouth’s iconic Yomper statue – as time runs out to try to keep the landmark where it is.
In an e-mail to thousands of local residents, the city’s Lib Dem group says rival councillors have sabotaged the future of the Falklands memorial, which stands outside the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney.
His budget amendment was a purely political affair aimed at giving them cover to put out fake news in emails and leaflets. It’s disgraceful.Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy Tory council leader
Lib Dem boss Gerald Vernon-Jackson wrote; ‘As local Lib Dem councillors, we put forward a proposal to maintain the Yomper where it is, but this was unfortunately voted down by Conservative and Ukip councillors’.
Yet council bosses say the decision to move the Yomper rests with the board of the Museum of the Royal Navy – and it was the Conservatives that put forward a motion last year asking the board to keep the Yomper where it is.
It comes as a public consultation into whether the Yomper should move into the Historic Dockyard finished yesterday.
Deputy council leader Luke Stubbs has condemned Cllr Vernon-Jackson’s comments.
He said: ‘This is a blatant attempt to hijack a community-led campaign and to use it for narrow partisan purposes.
‘Gerald knows full well that the decision on moving the Yomper rests with the Museum of the Royal Navy.
‘His budget amendment was a purely political affair aimed at giving them cover to put out fake news in e-mails and leaflets. It’s disgraceful.’
Cllr Stubbs said the claims were based on a suggestion put forward by the Lib Dems to put £1,000 in this year’s budget to maintain the Yomper.
Yet this wasn’t agreed – the Tories say no agreement was made for any transfer of cash. He said there was no evidence shown the money had already been raised.
Plans to move the Yomper have sparked a petition backed by more than 3,000 people. Earlier this month campaigners issued a heartfelt plea for officials not to lock the Yomper away.
The Royal Marines Museum is due to close on April 1.
It will re-open in 2020 in at the current home of the Action Stations building, as part of a £13.85m plan to revitalise the historic dockyard.
To have your say on the Yomper move, see royalmarinesmuseum.co.uk/yomper