Warring Tories launch no-confidence vote in Portsmouth association leaders

Alistair Thompson and Leo Ciccarone. Picture: Malcolm Wells
Alistair Thompson and Leo Ciccarone. Picture: Malcolm Wells
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WARRING Conservative Party members have launched a no-confidence vote bid to get rid of top leaders in the city.

Portsmouth South Conservative Association chairman Leo Ciccarone and three of his top officers – including a councillor – face losing their powerful positions in the party’s structure.

Opposing members within the association want to oust Mr Ciccarone at a meeting due to be held today.

It’s understood Councillor Steve Wemyss – ward representative for Drayton and Farlington but also deputy political chairman for the association – is one of the officers facing the vote.

The unusual move would leave Conservative members potentially voting against a sitting councillor elected by the public on a party ticket.

Treasurer Alistair Thompson and Mr Ciccarone’s deputy, Paul Hartley, are both also facing the vote.

Cllr Wemyss, Mr Thompson and Mr Hartley did not comment when approached by The News.

The move for a vote comes after Cllr Jennie Brent – member for Eastney and Craneswater – last week quit the Tory group at Portsmouth City Council.

Now her son Ryan Brent, who represents St Thomas ward for the Conservative Party, has been replaced by a new candidate – Terry Henderson – despite being a sitting councillor.

St Thomas branch members picked Mr Henderson but the party’s executive branch was set to meet last night to either approve or reject the selection ahead of the election in May next year.

The News attempted to contact Cllr Brent but was unable to reach him yesterday.

Asked about the upcoming vote, Mr Ciccarone said: ‘I’m going to put to my Conservative members that I did my very best.

‘I have raised thousands and thousands for the city.’

He added he worked to bring in new members and candidates for the association, which lost its sitting Tory MP, Flick Drummond, to Labour’s Stephen Morgan in 2017.

‘If that’s a problem for the Conservative Party then I shouldn’t be here,’ Mr Ciccarone added.

The meeting is due to take place at St Agatha’s Church today.