++Breaking: Mike Hancock apologises for “inappropriate and unprofessional” conduct

Mike HancockPortsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, whose membership of the Liberal Democrats has been suspended because of allegations concerning his behaviour towards a constituent, has this afternoon made a public apology for his behaviour.

From the BBC:

MP Mike Hancock has made a public apology over “inappropriate and unprofessional friendship” with a constituent.

Civil action against Mr Hancock, alleging he sexually assaulted a female constituent, was dropped earlier this month.

A statement said both parties had settled the claim on confidential terms.

Hancock said in the statement:

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.

Portsmouth Liberal Democrats have issued the following statement:

Ever since these claims came to light, Mike Hancock has consistently informed the local party that the claims were untrue and that he had a very strong case that would disprove all claims at trial and that he would not settle.

Given the strength in which he made his case to us and the fact that the police twice investigated the claims and decided not to prosecute, we had no reason not to believe him.

After today’s developments and the admissions he has made, we are incredibly disappointed that Mike Hancock has chosen not to proceed with the court case in order to clear his name.

Mike Hancock has admitted behaving in an unprofessional way that caused harm and distress to a constituent and we are very disappointed that his apology was not made at a much earlier stage.

Mike Hancock’s membership of the party remains suspended and he will now be subject to the party’s internal disciplinary hearing.

We will update this post if there are further developments.

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11 Comments

  • Yes, how can he remain an MP now?
    By election in October or November? If so will we hold the seat? Not with the current leader.

  • When’s the byelection?

  • Tony Dawson 19th Jun '14 - 8:16am

    The people of Portsmouth do not appear to happy to let Mike Hancock hang around according to the local press:

    http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/local/portsmouth-south-mp-mike-hancock-urged-to-quit-1-6129168

  • peter tyzack 19th Jun '14 - 8:45am

    instead of opportunist sniping at Clegg here, Theakes, if there is a deficit of the public’s connect with our party then the answer is to address it head-on. Have a series of public meetings in the constituency with Nick and LD MPs from the Region to market the party broadly and let normal voters take part in open Q&A sessions.
    In addition to the understandable soreness expressed by Reg above, the electorate will also feel very let down by Hancock too, and many will blame the Party for letting him stay so long, especially when there were signs long ago.

  • How about a sense of proportion here? Portsmouth South was a Tory seat. Mike Hancock won as SDP and again as a Lib Dem after 2 attempts he regained it for us. How did he do it? He did it by dedicated work for people which gradually gained him the deserved reputation as a local politician who genuinely cares( present tense because he still does) and who helped people over the last 43 years with 2 surgeries a week whenever he could.. Portsmouth South would not be a Lib Dem seat without Mike Hancock. How many people know that Mike Hancock could get three parliamentary nominations from all over 90 year olds?
    ]How many of you appreciate that he could not afford the loss of his house and the effect on his family if he had taken the chance and fought a case which he believes he would have won. Actually his wife Jacky took the decision because he has suffered from the psychological stress and is in hospital.
    How many judgemental commentators have seen the vile literature circulated about MH by a group of his enemies. Mike Hancock, like many of us is a flawed individual and he is under no illusions about that but those of us who know him are sure that he is a very caring man with a long record of service to people . I have 30 years as a Lib Dem Councillor, twice a Parliamentary Candidate and I can confidently assert that Mike’s achievements dwarf the meagre judgements of lesser people.

  • I entirely agree with brianD. Mike Hancock was one of my heroes, and he still is. I was there when he won that famous byelection victory in 1984. I remember going down to Portsmouth at least three times those couple of weeks. Every opinion poll showed Mike coming third. Mike was the only SDP/Liberal Alliance councillor in the city at that time. But he won the Parliamentary seat. And he’s still there today.

    Can anyone tell me who put up the money to hire a leading firm of solicitors to act for the complainant in this case?

  • I hear the comments, clearly heartfelt, from the last two contributors. But loyalty and admiration for past achievement or “parallel good behaviour” cannot be permitted to allow suspension of judgement. Mike Hancock’s behaviour, even that which he has admitted and is uncontested, has been beyond the pale. Resignation is the only honorable position.

  • Agree with Tony Dawson – Mike was a great MP, but he’s put his hands up to something completely unacceptable so he must go.

    >I can confidently assert that Mike’s achievements dwarf the meagre judgements of lesser people.

    There are lesser people and (presumably) greater people? I wasn’t informed about this, how does it work?

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