Lib Dems enter battle for Fareham MP seat

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PORTSMOUTH councillor Matthew Winnington has been chosen to represent the Lib Dems in the fight for the Fareham MP seat.

The party are hopeful of challenging the current Conservative safe seat in May’s general election, after Tory MP Mark Hoban said he would not be standing.

Cllr Winnington was chosen at a hustings meeting of Fareham Lib Dems on Monday.

He could potentially be fighting Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones for the seat after it was revealed that she is on the shortlist for the Tories. The Conservative representative will be decided on Saturday at a party hustings.

Cllr Winnington was elected as Eastney and Craneswater councillor in 2012. He has family connections with Fareham, where his wife Patricia grew up, and he has worked with the local party in recent campaigns.

He said: ‘I’m really honoured to have been selected. The Lib Dems are the clear challengers in a town where Labour has not managed to elect a councillor since 1999.’

Fareham Lib Dem chairman Jim Forrest said: ‘We’re delighted to have a young and energetic candidate who has proved himself in the tough arena of city politics.’

Other prospective parliamentary candidates in Fareham include Miles Grindey, for the Green Party, and Labour’s Stuart Rose.

Don Jerrard was meant to represent Ukip but quit his campaign, and the party is yet to make its reselection.