YOU would think that Basingstoke election candidate David Watson would have been out drumming up support yesterday - so why does his Facebook posting suggest that he could be about to move to Thailand for at least six months?
That was the question that voters in the Basingstoke South East division may have wanted to ask UKIP candidate Mr Watson. But that is easier said than done.
While most Hampshire County Council candidates were on the hustings yesterday, and with resurgent UKIP fielding candidates in all 10 local seats up for election, Mr Watson was thousands of miles away in Thailand - and if his Facebook posting, and wife, are to be believed, he could be there for some time.
According to posts on the social networking site, Mr Watson, vice-chairman of UKIP in Basingstoke, spent his first day in Thailand on April 28 - less than a week before yesterday's election.
He posted: “First day and ended up drunk on chang (beer) followed by Thai whiskey woke up with a thumping head. Today had my tablet repaired and had a nice sauna massage. Tomorrow must get down to business and join a gym.”
And on Tuesday, he posted: “Get my condo tomorrow. 6 months wirh (sic) sea views all on barter cant wait. Also has swimming pool below lovely.”
Mr Watson's wife Phattawan Watson, 31, who is from Thailand, told The Gazette her husband left the family home, in Mozart Close, Brighton Hill, suddenly two weeks ago, leaving her to look after their three young children.
Mrs Watson, who is currently out of work, said she did not know where her husband is in Thailand.
“He just left,” she said. “I just want to find out where he is. I want him to take responsibility of the children.
“All I know is he has gone to find his future life in Thailand. I wish I knew where he had gone so he could take responsibility for the children.”
After The Gazette contacted Mr Watson to ask him about his absence, the posts on his Facebook page disappeared and he said he had gone to Thailand for “a couple of weeks” because of a family crisis, before hanging up.
On Wednesday, Mr Watson emailed The Gazette to say he is in Thailand to visit his wife's parents “and see if there is a way to assist my wife through her crisis”.
He added: “I have also rented an apartment here for the family to use during this trying time. My plan is to return to England in the next week or two. While I am here I intend to try and sell some family land.”
But the previous evening, Mr Watson had emailed his wife and said: “They have been on my Facebook and called ny (sic) thai number.
“I told them im here due to a family crisis and to do a land deal due to a family crisis and to do a land deal and then pretended line bad and hung up.
“My agent Phil Heath has now spoken with them and hopefully they are not going with story because of election on 2nd and im still candidate they are going on everyone in ukip facebook looking for dirt.”
Mr Watson is the director of Romsey-registered office furniture supplier Scorpio Business Solutions, a post he has held since November 2010.
He married his wife in August 2002 and they have two children together - two sons aged 10 and eight - and Mrs Watson also has a 12-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.
Mrs Watson said her 51-year-old husband owns three properties in Basingstoke, two in Brighton Hill, and one in Popley, and pays the mortgage for their semi-detached home.
She claims that she has no savings or income, and only has £100 from Mr Watson when he left. “I don't have anything whatsoever,” she added.
Mr Heath, Basingstoke UKIP's campaign manager, confirmed that Mr Watson is in Thailand and that he was dealing with a family situation, but he added that he would return to the country.
“He is a good and honest man,” said Mr Heath. “Dave Watson and his family have personal problems. He's taken the decision to go before the election because it is urgent, including selling land to help out with the personal situation. I always recommend to my candidates that they put family first and elections second.”
He added: “He will be away for a couple of weeks. If he's renting a place for six months that may be for convenience in case he needs to go back. If he needs six months to sort it out, I support him on that.”
Mr Watson stood for election in Basingstoke South East which represents residents in Brighton Hill, Cranbourne, and Black Dam.
He came second with 984 votes. The winner, Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Gurden, got 1,278 votes.