Confusion over ‘demoralised’ UKIP branch in Portsmouth

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CONCERN surrounds Ukip’s branch in Portsmouth as members admit there is confusion over its future.

It comes after former Ukip politician Douglas Denny launched a fresh attack on the party after being deselected as its parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South.

In an email to political supporters, Mr Denny said a ‘total mess’ had been created in Portsmouth and the Ukip branch was demoralised and had disbanded.

He claimed it has no real strategy in the run-up to the general election.

But Ukip Hampshire organiser Paul Lovegrove has insisted two branches are being created in January due to growing membership.

Mr Denny’s wife, Portsmouth Ukip councillor Alicia Denny said: ‘The group of councillors on the council are okay – but it is probably fair to say we are all confused.

‘We’re confused about the situation regarding the branch and the forthcoming election. The party branch is demoralised, because of various things that have gone on in head office and because no parliamentary candidate has been selected for Portsmouth South.’

Mr Denny quit the party after he was stripped of his parliamentary role and believes someone without local connections will end up replacing him as it is now seen as a target seat.

Mr Denny has blamed the party for losing touch as a national poll reveals a fall in the personal approval ratings for Ukip’s national leader Nigel Farage.

Cllr Steve Hastings, deputy leader of Portsmouth’s Ukip group, said: ‘I sympathise with Douglas and his position. There is going to be an awful lot of sour grapes as there is a little bit of history going way back between Mr Denny and Mr Farage.’

Mrs Denny is considering her position as a Ukip councillor and said her husband may run as an independent candidate for Portsmouth South.

Mr Farage told The News he is not fazed by Mr Denny’s comments.

‘Douglas never stops giving his opinion, he never stops giving advice,’ he said.

‘It’s just someone who is very disappointed.

‘He had a major falling out with the main body of the party and that’s why we are where we are.’