The News’ hustings make their way over to Portsmouth

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THE next set of hustings being held by The News in the run up to the general election take place next week.

Constituents will get to find out more about Havant’s candidates and put questions to them on Monday.

The event is being held at Havant Borough Council’s Public Service Plaza in Civic Centre Road, Havant, from 6.30pm. Visitors need to arrive at 6pm.

Sitting Tory MP David Willetts has chosen not to stand again and the party is fielding Alan Mak as its new candidate after he won a public vote at an open primary.

The others fighting for Havant’s seat are Lib Dem Steve Sollitt, John Perry of Ukip, Tim Dawes of the Green Party and Labour’s Graham Giles.

The next of the hustings, run in conjunction with Coffin Mew, is in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth North candidates will take to a panel and answer questions on a range of issues at Highbury College in Tudor Crescent, Cosham, on Tuesday.

The end of shipbuilding is likely to be a strong talking point, a campaign led by Labour candidate John Ferrett.

And then all eyes will be on the Portsmouth South hustings – which has been billed the most hotly contested seat in the general election.

Former allies Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Mike Hancock, both running for parliament, have confirmed they will attend.

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has already revealed the public spat between the two is the talk of Westminster and said they are acting like ‘two rats in a sack’.

Tensions began after Mr Hancock declared he would stand again.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson responded by saying the veteran politician, who has held the seat since 1997, had ‘no chance’ of remaining in power.

Mr Hancock has since said a key reason behind his decision to stand was because the Lib Dem was up against him – someone he ‘doesn’t trust’.

Their relationship soured after Mr Hancock admitted to forming an ‘inappropriate friendship’ with a vulnerable female constituent while he was still a Lib Dem. He went on to quit the party.

The other contenders for Portsmouth South are; Tory Flick Drummond, Ukip’s Steve Harris, Labour’s Sue Castillon, Green candidate Ian McCulloch and Sean Hoyle, of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

Both Portsmouth events start at 6.30pm. Visitors need to arrive at 6pm.