General Election 2019: Lib Dem candidate for Portsmouth brands Brexit a 'real disaster'

Portsmouth South Tory candidate Donna Jones, with bottom row: Lib Dem candidate Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Labour incumbent Stephen Morgan. Pictures: Habibur Rahman/PA
Portsmouth South Tory candidate Donna Jones, with bottom row: Lib Dem candidate Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Labour incumbent Stephen Morgan. Pictures: Habibur Rahman/PA
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A PROSPECTIVE city MP has slammed opposition parties' involvement in Brexit as a 'real disaster' as he launched the Portsmouth Lib Dem election campaign.

Parliamentary hopefuls, Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Antonia Harrison, were selected by the Liberal Democrats at their election launch on Saturday.

Portsmouth Liberal Democrats rally to celebrate their official campaign launch in the city for the 2019 General Election. Picture: Portsmouth Lib Dems

Portsmouth Liberal Democrats rally to celebrate their official campaign launch in the city for the 2019 General Election. Picture: Portsmouth Lib Dems

Cllr Vernon-Jackson, who is the city council leader, will run against Cllr Stephen Morgan and Cllr Donna Jones - who are also on the city council - for the seat in Portsmouth South.

A recent Survation poll that surveyed 406 adults in the constituency placed Cllr Vernon-Jackson above Cllr Jones and Cllr Morgan, although his rivals have dismissed the findings.

He said: 'This reflects the national polls where Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party have lost a huge amount of support since the last general election.

'The decision of the Conservatives to force us out of Europe and Labour's failure to do anything to stop this is a real disaster.'

He added: 'We need a strong Portsmouth voice in parliament. When the government proposed moving Portsmouth based frigates to Plymouth neither of our city MPs opposed this.'

But Cllr Morgan, who will be fighting to keep his seat, hit back. 'It’s a broken record,' he said.

'They said we couldn’t win here last time. How wrong they were.

'Portsmouth people remember the cuts to public services and defence delivered nationally by the coalition government made worse locally by Tory and Lib Dem-led councils.

'On the decision for the Type 26 frigates, that was a strategic decision of the Royal Navy. I hope the Lib Dem candidate will finally back my efforts for a dry dock for the nation’s carriers which is worth more money and more jobs for Portsmouth.'

An argument was sparked between Cllr Morgan and Brexiteer Cllr Jones after she called the Labour member a 'threat to the future of Great Britain' at her campaign launch.

However, the Tory politician said she had since 'taken a pledge' and  was 'committed to not running down other political parties during the election campaign'.

She added: 'We have members who voted both leave and remain, but the overarching principle is that we are the true party of people who respect democracy.'

Antonia Harrison will stand in Portsmouth North.