Portsmouth Tories removed from posts after no-confidence vote 

Alistair Thompson and Leo Ciccarone
Alistair Thompson and Leo Ciccarone
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CITY Conservatives who had dismissed calls to step down following a dramatic vote of no confidence have now been removed from their posts.

Committee members of the Portsmouth South Conservative Association (PSCA) claimed the vote last month did not mean they had to leave, but they were ousted by an executive ruling.

Following the vote in September treasurer Alistair Thompson resigned but it is understood that chairman Leo Ciccarone, deputy Paul Hartley and Councillor Steve Weymss did not.

Mr Ciccarone said: ‘We were given a vote of no confidence and then there were people complaining saying why are we still there.

‘We confirmed with the rules that the vote was non-binding.

‘If I am no longer a member on paper I will always be a Conservative member in my heart.’

He attacked some of the events at the meeting on September 6. ‘We were out-voted because on the night our supporters could not come because they were working or abroad on holiday,’ he said.

‘They even brought in a 90-year-old lady and paid her membership to get her to vote. That’s not democracy.

‘First of all it is highly irregular and are they saying they can buy your vote?’

But Paul Hartley was keen the group move on from the incident.

He said: ‘Portsmouth South Conservative Association is bigger than any individual or group of individuals and my fervent desire is that the association gets back on track and that it properly functions and correctly serves the people it is intended to serve.’

Alistair Thompson, who had only been treasurer for four months, agreed.

‘These sorts of things happen all the time in associations,’ he said.

‘If someone thinks they can do a better job then that’s fine.'

Tory councillor and member of the PSCA, Cllr Luke Stubbs, added: ‘Hopefully this will mark an opportunity for the party to put behind it some of its recent difficulties and we will be able to move forward in Portsmouth South and concentrate on taking the fight to Labour and the Lib Dems.’

It is thought new leadership will be confirmed at the association’s annual general meeting next year.