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  1. ITV Report

New questions over why it took the Liberal Democrats so long to act over an MP accused of sexual misconduct

A recording of a phone call a woman made to Nick Clegg's office in June 2011 has been obtained by ITV News. It followed up on a letter she said she wrote three months earlier detailing allegations of sexual misconduct against MP Mike Hancock.

He denies the claims.

New questions have been asked about why it took the Liberal Democrats so long to act against the MP when he had been accused of sexual misconduct. Speaking to ITV earlier today, party leader Nick Clegg insisted that he acted as soon as heard what he called the appalling allegations against Mike Hancock.

But he has not explained why nothing was done when the complaints were first made to the party two years earlier.

ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks reports:

Earlier tonight, Portsmouth City Council's Liberal Democrat group held a private meeting and decided that Mike Hancock will retain his seat on the council's cabinet. He has been forced to stand as an independent councillor as he was suspended as a member of the party yesterday over claims of sexual misconduct, which he denies.

This was decided because Councillor Hancock is best placed to fulfil the role of cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development.

– Portsmouth City Council's Liberal Democrat group statement

The news came after a High Court ruled for the disclosure of a report into councillor and former Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock was necessary. The leaked, redacted version of the report describes the account the alleged 'victim' gave as "credible".

It has been reported that a police investigation into the allegations found last year that no further action should be taken.

At the High Court, Master Leslie said the ruling was necessary so that the woman could feel she had "a fair hearing and a fair crack of the whip".

In an exclusive interview with ITV News under fire Portsmouth MP Mike Hancock refused to answer questions about his future.