Brexit Party candidate drops out of Portsmouth South general election race as party rejects Tory plea to Nigel Farage for pact

THE Brexit Party candidate for Portsmouth South has dropped out of the general election race - with officials scrambling to replace her.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 3:19 pm
Portsmouth South Tory candidate Donna Jones, with bottom row: Lib Dem candidate Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Labour incumbent Stephen Morgan

Southsea businesswoman Susan Lloyd was named as running for the seat for Nigel Farage's party in August but has today confirmed she has dropped out due to ‘work commitments’.

It comes as polling by Survation reveals the party would take a 14 per cent of the vote share in the three-way marginal seat paving the way for a Liberal Democrats win.

This prompted Conservative candidate Donna Jones to tweet to Mr Farage: ‘Please don't stand a candidate against me.’

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Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. Picture: David Lowndes

A Brexit Party spokesman rejected Councillor Jones’ plea and said it showed ‘the sheer entitlement of the Tories’.

As reported, the Survation poll put Liberal Democrats on top with 30 per cent - meaning if the single poll proved true Gerald Vernon-Jackson would win the seat from Labour's Stephen Morgan.

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Today Ms Lloyd, who quit in mid-October, told The News: ‘A few weeks ago I decided not to run for Portsmouth South due to work commitments.’

Leader Mr Farage unveiled 600 candidates but a party spokesman said one is still being selected for the constituency.

Sources previously confirmed to The News over the summer that the Tories locally wanted a pact between the two parties so as not to split the Leave vote between them.

Asked whether the Tories desire for a pact had any influence on her decision, Ms Lloyd said: ‘No not at all, (I was) just disenfranchised with politics and the nastiness and unpleasant people that are in it.’

Tweeting today the former leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Jones, said: ‘Dear @Nigel_Farage I’m a @Conservatives candidate in #Portsmouth South. 

‘I ran the @vote_leave campaign here in 2016. 

‘Please don't stand a candidate against me, that way we will have one more MP elected who will #GetBrexitDone #democrcay.'

The BBC’s political editor for the south Peter Henley tweeted: ‘Needy or what?’

Cllr Jones has both criticised the results of the Survation poll as being commissioned by the Lib Dems, but also based her plea for a pact on its results.

Incumbent Mr Morgan won the seat in 2017 from Tory Flick Drummond, who took the constituency from disgraced Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock in 2015.

The Brexit Party spokesman added: ‘It shows the sheer level of entitlement of the Tories. They had three-and-a-half years to sort this out and they’ve done nothing.’

He said: ‘If you (the Tories) want to stand us down, what do you give us?

‘Will Penny Mordaunt next door stand down?’

Ms Mordaunt, former defence secretary, represents Portsmouth North. She will be challenged by Angela Hancock (Brexit) and Antonia Harrison (Lib Dem), with more candidates to be announced.

Asked about the Survation poll yesterday Cllr Jones said: ‘The Survation “independent” poll was in fact paid for and commissioned by the Lib Dems. In all true independent polls over the last two months the Conservatives have been leading the polls by up to a 16-point lead (nationally).

‘Anyone who wants to get on and get Brexit done needs to vote for me in Portsmouth South. A vote for the Brexit Party will end up with a Lib Dem MP who will revoke article 50.’