++ Mike Hancock MP quits Lib Dems

mike hancockMike Hancock, elected as Lib Dem MP for Portsmouth South in 2010 but suspended from the party following allegations of sexual harassment made by a constituent, has resigned from the party, according to the Independent:

(Hancock) spent almost five years denying that he had sexually harassed a vulnerable constituent until eventually he admitted in court that he had behaved in a way that made her “feel deeply uncomfortable and discriminated against”.

He was suspended from the Liberal Democrats’ parliamentary group and lost his seat on Portsmouth Council. The party has chosen another candidate to fight his parliamentary seat at next year’s election.

But he is still the MP for Portsmouth South, and until yesterday was a paid-up Liberal Democrat party member. It runs against the culture of the party to expel one of its members, but at HQ they were gearing up for a disciplinary hearing, when the resignation letter saved them the trouble.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem leader of the city council for the last decade until this May, will fight the seat for the Lib Dems at the next general election.

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  • Joshua Dixon 19th Sep '14 - 12:34am

    Won’t be missed. Shame on those who defended and covered for him too.

  • Well timed announcement – literally no one will notice. After 4 years we are finaly learning.

  • Tony Dawson 19th Sep '14 - 9:18am

    @Joshua Dixon:

    “Shame on those who defended and covered for him too”

    Exactly the same can be said about those at the head of our national Party who relentlessly backed Chris Huhne, in the face of growing evidence, permitting him to continue as a Cabinet member without even suspending him when formal charges were brought. Politicians are by nature clannish and should generally look to external independent advice on what to do in such circumstances rather than trusting their own gut instincts..

    Mike Hancock obviously did a phenomenal amount of good work both for the Party and the people of Portsmouth over many years. Unfortunately, though it does not affect all in the same way, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Former Lib Dem Councillor Robert Bleakley in Wigan has also been very popular in his ward for many years but has taken unforgivable liberties which have also given him national prominence recently. It is all a matter of scale.

    The big question is: “Will we, as individuals or as a Party, all learn from this in any kind of consistent manner?” Are you holding your breath? 🙁

  • On Mike Hancock sexual harassment was alleged against him. Twice investigated by the police and no charges were brought against him. It seems that the complainant dropped the allegations in the settlement. Mike Hancock apologised for an “inappropriate friendship”. Politics in Portsmouth is vicious. And to defend oneself in a civil court (even if one wins) is very expensive with the other side likely to be on legal aid but maybe Hancock should have done that.
    @George Potter. Gerald Vernon-Jackson led the council for 10 years. During that time he was very instrumental in keeping the Navy and naval base in Portsmouth (which might have decamped en masse to Plymouth) and so keeping thousands of jobs. He also helped keep Pompey FC in the football league by getting through a loan from the council to the supporters’ trust of £1.6m – with considerable opposition from Labour and Conservatives who wanted to delay the decision on it. Without it happening when it did Pompey would have been out of the league.
    Helping save the local football club and saving thousands of local jobs is not a bad record to go to the local electorate on.
    He also tripled the number of Lib Dem councillors on the council and is a former Deputy Director of Campaigns for the party. And as Mark Pack noted he adds to the diversity of the party candidates by being out LGBT candidate. I would suggest not really a “wasted opportunity”.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 20th Sep '14 - 3:41pm

    It has been stated that “Mike Hancock obviously did a phenomenal amount of good work both for the Party and the people of Portsmouth over many years”

    But unfortunately he has allegedly chosen to undo all of this by his illiberal actions so I would agree with George Potter and say “Good riddance”, although this will not make the apparent aggrieved victims feel any better.

    We as a Party need to seriously look at and modify our entire complaint procedure and bring it in line with the public sector at least. The current processes and procedures seem to merely make us look rather inept and foolish.

    Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera
    Liberal Democrat English Party Diversity Champion
    Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrat (EMLD) – Vice Chair

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