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Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock resigns

Mike Hancock has resigned from the Liberal Democrats Credit: ITV Meridian

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock has resigned his membership of the Liberal Democrats the party has confirmed.

The move came after the veteran MP, who had already been suspended by the party, was forced publicly to apologise to a vulnerable woman constituent for making improper sexual advances.

In June Mr Hancock gave an "unreserved" apology at London's High Court over an "inappropriate and unprofessional friendship" with a single mother known as Annie, who had sought his assistance as her MP and local councillor.

Solicitors for the woman said the apology was part of a "confidential settlement" in which the "vulnerable woman", who suffers from mental health problems, brought a claim for damages against him.

A Lib Dem spokesman said Mr Hancock had quit before an internal party disciplinary hearing.

Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg had previously called on Mr Hancock to resign his membership and said he had "no future" in the party.

A Lib Dem spokesman said: "I can confirm he has resigned from the party. "We have received a letter confirming his resignation. Obviously, there was due to be a disciplinary hearing imminently, so before that has happened he has resigned."

New Schools Commissioner for region promises tough action

The South East has its first Regional Schools Commissioner. He'll decide who gets to run academies and free schools and he's responsible for making sure they do a good job.

But it will be a tall order for Dominic Herrington - our fragmented education system means that in his region there are now more than 100 different organisations running over 650 academies as more and more schools opt out of local authority control.

* Two organisations running academies across Sussex, Kent and Hampshire have recently been heavily criticised by Ofsted for poor performance.

* The first failing free school to be shut down in the country was here in the South in Crawley earlier this year.

* And there's a vociferous campaign in Hove opposing academy conversion.

As his challenges begin - he gave his first exclusive interview to our Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford.


Man at large after walking out of open prison

Police are appealing for the whereabouts of Lucas Lamb who walked out of Ford Prison on Friday, September 5th.

Lamb, 31, was convicted of GBH with intent in Hailsham in October 2012, and is now unlawfully at large.

Lucas Lamb Credit: Sussex Police

He is described as white, 5' 8", thin with short brown hair and blue eyes with a tattoo on his lower neck which says Cleo and has a scar above his right eye. He has links to Hailsham and Eastbourne areas.

Anyone with information about where he is or has seen him is asked to contact police immediately on 999 and not to approach him.


Thanet constituency contest "good for tourism"

Business leaders say the contest for the south Thanet constituency will encourage tourism. UKIP leader Nigel Farage will be trying to win his party's first parliamentary seat there in the next general election. And that's expectedto bring the media spotlight on the region.

ITV Meridian spoke to David Foley from East Kent Chamber of Commerce.

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Farage says he is not complacent after hustings win

Nigel Farage told Good Morning Britain there is "not one ounce of complacency from me" after he was selected to stand in the South Thanet seat for Ukip at next year's general election.

"I'm not pretending for one moment that it's going to be easy, but Ukip is offering something different and distinctive," Farage said.

Asked if he would stand down as leader if the party fails to win a single seat at the election, Farage reiterated his comments from last night.

"If we'd failed in the European elections I would have stood down, if we fail next year the party will pick someone better than me, but do you know what? That ain't going to happen," he said.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage wins the vote to fight the Thanet South seat in next year's General Election

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has tonight won the vote to fight the Thanet South seat in next year's General Election. Mr Farage who is a South East MEP beat three other candidates to the nomination in a hustings event in Ramsgate tonight. The constituency is likely to become one of the election's highest profile battlegrounds - as he bids to become the party's first MP. Derek Johnson spoke to him after the count.

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