FRESH turmoil has emerged at the top of Ukip in Portsmouth.
Party officials have told The News Paul Lovegrove is to quit his post as chairman of Ukip’s Portsmouth South branch following the general and local elections.
I think he was disillusioned by the reaction of the local people, how we didn’t get one seat in the last election.Councillor Colin Galloway, Portsmouth’s Ukip group leader
They say the controversial Ukip member – who has a criminal past – was ‘hurt’ by the party’s failure to pick up more seats in the Portsmouth local election.
But Mr Lovegrove – who lost his bid to win a seat on the council representing Fratton ward – insists he is not going anywhere and remains committed to the job.
It comes following a year of controversy within Ukip locally, with members walking out over Mr Lovegrove’s background.
Portsmouth Ukip group leader Councillor Colin Galloway said: ‘He decided to stand down as committee chairman for Portsmouth South.
‘I think he was disillusioned by the reaction of the local people, how we didn’t get one seat in the last election.
He added: ‘Everybody was disappointed, and it hurt him quite a bit.
‘So he is looking to bring new blood into the south branch and it looks like as soon as that gets going, he will allow them to get on with it (running the branch). We all were disheartened.
‘We thought we were trying to help our people, and to see the Conservatives get into our territories – Paulsgrove and Nelson wards – was surprising and even surprised the Conservatives as well.’
But Mr Lovegrove said everything was going smoothly and he’s getting on just fine.
He said: ‘I am still the chairman.
‘Nothing has changed. I don’t know where Colin got that information from.
‘The branch is fine. I want to see the city doing better.’
Asked whether he was upset by Ukip’s failure to win more seats in Portsmouth, he said: ‘I don’t care who wins, it’s interesting to see what the people want. That’s it – it’s not about power.
‘The branch is making plans for the EU referendum, and getting on with everyday life.’