Portsmouth Ukip candidate wants to bring more defence jobs into the area

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THE man chosen to contest the Portsmouth South seat for Ukip in the upcoming election has said he wants to bring more work into the dockyard.

Steve Harris, a retired officer of the US Navy, was voted in at a party hustings meeting last night.

Steve Harris, a retired US Navy officer, will stand for Ukip in Portsmouth South

Steve Harris, a retired US Navy officer, will stand for Ukip in Portsmouth South

Mr Harris, 66, said: ‘I’m a retired naval officer and I couldn’t have picked a better place to do it.

‘I used to be the regional organiser of the south east and was instrumental in getting this branch going a couple of years ago, and this is something I want to do.

‘I want to bring more training to the University of Portsmouth, more apprenticeships and a lot more work in the dockyard.

‘This is the home of the Royal Navy, and I wish it to continue to be that, and build a lot more Royal Navy ships.’

Mr Harris, who lives in Havant, was born in Aldershot.

He has spent time living in the Sudan, the USA and Hong Kong.

He attended Valley Forge Military Academy, and enlisted in the US Navy in 1966.

He undertook three tours of Vietnam, completing a degree in history, political science and international relations between the first and second tour.

He retired as a naval officer in 1992, and joined Ukip in 2001.

The private hustings was held in the Royal Beach hotel, in Southsea.

In total there were six candidates, who each took it in turn to speak for five minutes in front of committee members of Portsmouth South.

In total there were around 30 people.

Once they heard from all the candidates, a short question-and-answer session was held, before the vote was cast.

The other candidates were Malcolm Bint, Kevan Chippindall-Higgin, Stephen Gibbons-Roscoe, Elizabeth Simpson and Neil Willets.

Mike Hancock, the current MP for Portsmouth South, as an independent candidate said this election is a very open race.

He said: ‘This adds an interesting element to the cocktail of politics.

‘This year it’s a very open contest and I think 30 per cent of the vote to someone should do it.

‘It will be interesting to see what happens from here on in.’

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the seat, still believes it’s a two-horse race.

He said: ‘It’s always good to have different view points and it’s great a former naval person has been selected.

‘For the last 30 years it has always been a close race between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.

‘And that’s what the polling information is saying is happening now.’