A FORMER council leader has set his sights on bolstering the city’s education and health services as he outlined his bid to become an MP.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the former leader of Portsmouth City Council and current leader of Portsmouth Liberal Democrats, unveiled his plan to win the Portsmouth South seat at June’s general election.
I will provide a voice for the voiceless and I will work to champion the needs of this city and provide for its peopleCouncillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson
At a public meeting last night at the Royal Beach Hotel in Southsea, he said he would ‘provide a voice for the voiceless’.
Addressing a crowd, Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We need an MP in Portsmouth South that is prepared to listen to the people.
‘We need a MP that will put Portsmouth first, who values our environment, who will fight for the poorest pensioners and who will work for a better society.
‘I will provide a voice for the voiceless and I will work to champion the needs of this city and provide for its people. We need to win here and I will work every hour over the next six weeks to do to this. We can win here and we must win here.’
Cllr Darren Sanders, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Portsmouth North, also launched his campaign.
But it was clear the party is focussing most of its efforts in the Portsmouth South seat in the election this summer.
Tory MP Flick Drummond won the seat in 2015 with a 5,241 majority. Cllr Vernon-Jackson stood in the seat while then-incumbent and former Lib Dem Mike Hancock was independent.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson: ‘I personally like Flick Drummond, I think she is a nice lady but she votes in the Commons the way her party tells her to and she does not put Portsmouth first.’
He called for a public vote to be held on whether the UK leaves the single market following Brexit, pledged to support NHS workers and claimed the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham was at ‘breaking point’. He also called for further funding for the city’s schools.
Cllr Sanders echoed his fellow candidate’s pledges and vowed to utilise space at St James’ Hospital in Milton.
He said: ‘We will work with the NHS to use it in order to tackle bed blocking at the Queen Alexandra Hospital.
‘We have got to make sure that we have got MPs who are willing to fight.
‘We know that leaving the single market will be disastrous so we need to have a plan post-Brexit.’
Tories Mrs Drummond and Penny Mordaunt will launch their campaign for South and North on Saturday.