Nick Clegg has called on disgraced Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock to resign from the party after his apology for inappropriate conduct toward a female constituent.
Speaking on his weekly LBC radio phone-in, Mr Clegg said the Portsmouth South MP should resign from the party having already had the whip removed and his membership suspended.
The Deputy Prime Minister said: "He has made an apology that makes it clear that the way he behaved was totally and utterly out of order - as he himself has said - and crossed a line with a vulnerable constituent.
"He has caused huge, huge distress. Frankly, that has no role in the Liberal Democrats - the party I lead. He has no future in the party. He should resign."
ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports:
Lib Dems say in light of court case conclusion Mike Hancock - who was suspended from party - now "faces expulsion"
Mike Hancock "faces expulsion" from LibDems says party source (currently sits as Independent MP in Commons after previously being suspended)
For four years Mike Hancock has fought and denied claims made by a female constituent who alleged claims of sexual assault against the Portsmouth MP.
ITV News Political Correspondent Emily Morgan asked the woman at the centre of the case how she reacted to Mr Hancock's apology today, which came after the 68-year-old settled the case out of court.
The unnamed woman criticised councillors in Portsmouth and senior Liberal Democrats for not taking her claim seriously when she made them in 2010.
The vulnerable woman who MP Mike Hancock has today apologised for having an "inappropriate" relationship with tried to complain about him through the police, the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, the Liberal Democrat Party and Portsmouth City Council, her solicitors said.
She was "blocked from achieving a remedy at each stage", said her lawyer Harriet Wistrich. She added:
Vulnerable adults, including those with mental health problems, suffer huge hurdles in persuading the criminal justice system of their credibility.
I pay tribute to my client who has battled for justice for years and faced extraordinary hurdles.
It is outrageous that she was blocked from having her complaint investigated and resolved by so many of the regulatory systems that should have been available to her.
I hope that MPs will now consider this case and appreciate the need for the sort of regulation that already applies to most professions to be extended to these sort of relationships.
ITV News Westminster producer Adam Smith has tweeted:
Lawyer for the woman who accused Mike Hancock of sexual assault says Nick Clegg's failure to act sooner caused her client further "distress"
Lawyer: The failure of the Lib Dems to act sooner on Mike Hancock made his accuser feel like there was a "conspiracy against her" @itvnews
A disciplinary investigation into MP Mike Hancock, which was put on hold pending the outcome of today's civil case, will now be re-started, a Liberal Democrat spokesman has said.
His membership of the party has already been suspended.
MP Mike Hancock has apologised for giving the impression that one of his constituents had sued him in order to try to make financial gain.
The Portsmouth MP had issued statements on his website saying that his constituent had been trying to "sue me for money", but has now acknowledged this was not the case.
He also apologised for not doing more to resolve the dispute with the woman more quickly.
I accept that you did not bring the claim for financial gain and any statements make to the contrary were wrong. I also acknowledge that you have fought for many years to hold me to account, and that this should been resolved far sooner. I my self would have wished for it to be resolved far earlier and I am sorry that it wasn't."
MP Mike Hancock has issued a lengthy apology to the woman who alleged that he sexually assaulted her, acknowledging that his behaviour had been "inappropriate and unprofessional".
The apology forms part of a settlement agreement after the constituent, who has remained anonymous, brought a civil case against Mr Hancock.
In October 2009 you first came to me as a constituent to seek my assistance as your MP and councillor. Subsequently and over several months I came to your home on several occasions, sometimes unannounced and conducted a friendship with you that was inappropriate and unprofessional.
I understand that you felt degraded. I did not treat you with sufficient respect. I made you feel deeply uncomfortable and discriminated against, and I crossed the line...
I can only apologise unreservedly to you for any distress, anger and worsening of your psychiatric condition that I caused.
MP Mike Hancock has reached a settlement with a constituent who accused him of sexual assault.
Independent MP Mr Hancock has repeatedly denied the allegations and the settlement relates to a civil action brought by the woman, who has remained anonymous.
ITV News Westminster producer Adam Smith has tweeted.
MP Mike Hancock has reached a settlement in the civil action brought against him by constituent who alleged sexual assault
MP Mike Hancock has issued an apology to his constituent for "any distress, anger and worsening of your psychiatric condition" @itvnews
Mike Hancock admits he conducted an "inappropriate and unprofessional" relationship with his constituent @itvnews