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Portsmouth City Council vote 'no' to more asylum seekers

Portsmouth City Council has voted to send a letter to the Government saying the city can't take any more refugees.

The urgent debate held earlier comes after Conservative Council leader Donna Jones says the city has done its fair share to help asylum seekers. Protesters gathered outside the city's guildhall.

Our reporter Sam Holder was there.

BREAKING: Portsmouth Council says 'no' to more refugees

Councillors in Portsmouth have voted to send a letter to the Government asking to be taken off the list of cluster areas for asylum seekers.

In an urgent debate held tonight the decision to send the controversial letter to the Government asking for the city to be removed from the list will be taken.

In the first quarter of this year 43 percent of asylum seekers housed in the South East of England were given accommodation in Portsmouth.

The council says the costs are only partially reimbursed by central government. But the British Red Cross says now is the worst time for the city to withdraw.


Emergency debate underway in Portsmouth over future of asylum seekers

Protesters campaign for compassion for asylum seekers Credit: ITV

An emergency debate is underway tonight over whether or not Portsmouth should close the door on asylum seekers.

The city became a cluster area for refugees 15 years ago, along with other cities, to ease pressure on London. But Conservative Council leader Donna Jones has told the Government Portsmouth has done its fair share and does not have the capacity to take anymore. The British Red Cross says it is the worst time for the city to withdraw. Andrew Pate is at the meeting.

MP 'vigorously denies' any wrongdoing

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