Portsmouth councillor George Madgwick to stand for another seat on neighbouring Winchester City Council this year

A SERVING Portsmouth councillor has defended his decision to stand for election in neighbouring Winchester City Council in the face of criticism of his ‘commitment’ to his existing role and calls to resign from it.

George Madgwick, who is standing as an independent in the Southwick & Wickham ward - a year after being elected in Paulsgrove, said he would be better placed to deal with issues impacting the Portsdown Hill boundary.

‘My number one priority is Paulsgrove and that won't change if I'm elected,’ he said. ‘If it does affect my job as a councillor there then I will stand down from Southwick & Wickham.’

Cllr Madgwick said he had been asked to stand in the ward due to his work in Portsmouth and for his connections through owning Wicks Bar & Grill in Knowle Village.

George Madgwick celebrates on the Guildhall steps last year after winning a seat in Paulsgrove on Portsmouth City Council Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

He is standing as an independent candidate, rather than as a member of the Portsmouth Independents Party he represents on Portsmouth City Council.

He said there were plenty of examples of councillors holding multiple political roles, including councillors Daniel Wemyss and Luke Stubbs who work for Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt and as the former deputy police and crime commissioner respectively.

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‘The two wards share a long boundary and it's been difficult in the past to get issues resolved which straddle that,' he added. 'But if I am a councillor in both wards then that will become much easier.

‘I'm fortunate in having the time to dedicate to both wards and am confident that I will be able to serve them both fully.'

But several councillors have questioned this claim, warning it would be 'difficult' to be able to represent both.

Neil Cutler, the Lib Dem deputy leader of Winchester City Council, whose seat Cllr Madgwick is contesting, said it was ‘a busy job’.

‘It would be difficult for him to serve two areas at the same time, particularly as this is quite a big ward,’ he said. ‘But he's perfectly entitled to stand and residents are entitle to have that choice of candidates.

‘We have good relationships with the three councils the ward borders and there has never been any contact from Cllr Madgwick regarding any issues.’

His fellow Paulsgrove councillor, Conservative Gemma New, said the decision to stand for election elsewhere so soon after being elected was ‘not right’ and that he needed to resign.

'He's dumping Paulsgrove,' she said. 'That doesn't send out the right message to our residents. He shouldn't be standing in two places and needs to resign.’

Conservative group leader Simon Bosher said he was leaving the people of Paulsgrove ‘shortchanged’.

‘I find it astounding that someone who has been a Paulsgrove councillor for a year is already setting his sights on somewhere else,’ he said. ‘He really is letting the residents of his ward down.’

The candidates in Southwick & Wickham for the May 5 election are:

Neil Cutler (Lib Dem)

George Madgwick (independent)

Sandy Phillips-Lee (Conserative)

Paul Sony (Labour)

Julia Stolle (Green Party)