THE man chosen to stand for Ukip in Portsmouth South in the general election has been deselected.
Roger Bird, general secretary of Ukip, confirmed to The News that Douglas Denny was no longer the prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) following a decision by the party’s national executive committee (NEC).
It followed confusion about Mr Denny’s position, with the chairman of the Portsmouth Ukip branch unaware of the deselection and speaking of his shock when he was told yesterday.
Mr Denny was elected as the candidate by the local branch last year.
Mr Bird said the party’s ruling committee had removed Mr Denny from the position, but that he was free to apply to other constituencies.
‘He has responded so we know he has received this notification,’ said Mr Bird.
‘There have been other incidents where the NEC has chosen to open the field of candidates to a wider field.
‘It’s nothing personal against him. He’s a long-standing member of the party – someone for whom I have a lot of respect.’
Mr Bird added similar deselections had taken place in other constituencies.
He said: ‘It’s a more routine event than it might otherwise feel.
‘Internally we don’t see it as being serious or malicious or disciplinary. It’s simply a process which the party goes through.’
Stuart Potter, branch chairman, said he understood Mr Denny remained the candidate until The News notified him of a statement it had received from the party.
He said he was ‘not happy’ about the decision.
He added: ‘He would have been an exceedingly good candidate. We have put a lot of resources into Doug and got him known as the PPC. There’s been a lot of footwork done and he has been to meetings with us. It’s a bit of a shock, but we have to move forward.’
He said the branch would now have a new round of applications before a hustings later this year.
A party statement said Mr Denny’s position was withdrawn in early October ‘at which point the UKIP Portsmouth Association was informed’. Mr Bird added: ‘It seems as though communication has not filtered its way through the branch.’
Mr Denny was not available for comment.