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Portsmouth councillor Mike Hancock quits cabinet post

Portsmouth City councillor Mike Hancock has quit his cabinet position in the Liberal Democrat led authority.

It comes hours before a meeting this evening that was due to see the Lib-Dem group vote on whether the councillor should keep his position.

Tonight's meeting will now decide who will take up the position.

Mike Hancock has quit his position as a Portsmouth City councillor Credit: ITV Meridian

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Clash outside home of Portsmouth South MP Hancock

by Sally Simmonds

A man has been arrested after clashing with a member of the press outside the home of the Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock. The photographer was left with a bloody nose after the incident today, in an altercation with Mr Hancock's 37- year-old son.

The politician was suspended from the Liberal Democrat party last night after a leaked report into alleged sexual impropriety with a female constituent. He denies any wrong-doing.

Mr Hancock remains a city councillor - and an independent MP. Sally Simmonds reports.

Portsmouth council delay decision on MP Mike Hancock

Portsmouth City Council’s has postponed a decision on whether MP Mike Hancock breached its code of conduct over an alleged sexual assault on a woman.

The delay is as a result of concern over inconsistent decisions relating to the case by the council and the High Court who is also investigating the case.

The council received legal advice that the sub-committee, who are investigating the case, had no powers to compel witnesses to provide statements or give evidence under oath unlike the High Court.

Portsmouth Lib Dem MP Hancock now an independent

by Phil Hornby

The people of Portsmouth South now have an independent MP. Mike Hancock resigned from the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party last night, after a special disciplinary hearing.

The MP said he was stepping down temporarily while he defended a High Court action against him. But as our political correspondent Phil Hornby reports, it is thought that Mr Hancock jumped - before he was pushed.

National

Mike Hancock resigning the Liberal Democrat whip

In a statement released through the party Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock has said he is withdrawing from the party whip:

Following our meeting today I have decided to offer to temporarily withdraw from the parliamentary party in the Commons until the civil court case against me has been concluded.

I can assure you that I will continue to vigorously defend my position and that I completely refute the allegations made against me.

I'm doing this in the best interests of the party nationally and in Portsmouth and for my family.

I will continue to work hard for my constituents in Portsmouth as I have always done.

– Mike Hancock MP

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Disciplinary meeting for MP has finished

A disciplinary meeting at which the Liberal Democrats have been questioning Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock has finished. The hearing concerned allegations that the Hampshire politician had an inappropriate relationship with a female constituent.

The 66-year-old denies the allegations. The meeting is finished, but the Liberal Democrats say they are not releasing any further details at this stage.

MP 'vigorously denies' any wrongdoing

Mike Hancock MP
Mike Hancock is the MP for Portsmouth South and a local councillor

A spokesperson for the Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock has said that the politician vigorously denies any wrongdoing as a councillor for Portsmouth City Council. The local authority earlier announced that it was carrying out an investigation after a complaint that he had breached a code of conduct.

The spokesperson for Mike Hancock MP said:

“There has been a code of conduct complaint against Mike Hancock in his role as a Portsmouth City Councillor, which has been considered by the council’s assessment committee.

“The committee’s role is to assess whether the person was a councillor at the time of the alleged breach of the code and not to investigate the complaint itself. There will now be an investigation under the auspices of the City Solicitor for the council.

“Mike Hancock vigorously denies that he has broken the code of conduct. The allegations have previously been investigated by the police but no further action was taken. Mike Hancock will co-operate fully with the investigations of the city council and does not feel it appropriate to comment further.

"In the meantime he is recovering from major heart surgery and will continue to serve his constituents as an MP and a councillor to best of his ability.”.

City Council to investigate complaint against MP

Portsmouth City Council are to investigate a complaint against the Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock. The full details have not been revealed yet. However, the city's solicitor Michael Lawther has issued a statement.

"A sub-committee of Portsmouth City Council today decided to refer a complaint against Cllr Mike Hancock for investigation.

"The governance and audit and standards committee (assessment) sub-committee, made up of three councillors, considered evidence of a breach of the council's code of conduct and decided there was a case to answer. They made no judgement as to whether or not there had been a breach.

"I will now appoint an independent lawyer to carry out an investigation. We estimate the investigation will take two or three months.

"If a breach is proved against a councillor, they can be censured for their conduct."

– Portsmouth City Council - City solicitor, Michael Lawther

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