Portsouth Lib Dem leader insists group isn’t in turmoil despite Tory defection

Cllr Sandra Stockdale
Cllr Sandra Stockdale
Cllr Stephen Morgan, MP

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THE Portsmouth Lib Dems insist they are not in turmoil despite the Tories recruiting one of their councillors.

Cllr Sandra Stockdale decided to jump ship to the Conservatives yesterday, taking the group’s number of seats on the city council to 19.

Cllr Stockdale, who has represented St Thomas ward for three years, said she decided to quit the Lib Dems after members decided she should not run as a councillor again at next year’s local elections – and she ‘didn’t feel wanted’.

She was a member of the Conservatives until 2011.

Tory leader Donna Jones said it was another example of how the Lib Dems were ‘falling apart’ nationally and locally – but Lib Dem leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson dismissed the claims.

He said: ‘The issue is, we are getting so many good people coming forward wanting to be candidates, that there is now real competition and we have an embarrassment of good people wanting to be councillors.’

Cllr Stockdale said: ‘I had been thinking about it for the last three months.

‘The Lib Dems work hard, as everybody does. I left because I felt I wasn’t wanted. So I moved on. The Lib Dems had the election for the candidates and I wasn’t chosen.’

But Cllr Jones said: ‘They are taking extreme action such as to de-select hard-working councillors to try and encourage new blood into the group.’

Lib Dem Tom Wood, 28, has been selected to run for the seat in St Thomas.