Mike Hancock resigns from Lib Dem cabinet on Portsmouth City Council

Three new developments today in Portsmouth as the local Lib Dem party and city council group work out how to deal with the allegations of sexual assault against Mike Hancock, which he denies.

Twelve days ago, Hancock, who had already stood down from the party whip at Westminster, was suspended by the national Lib Dems, making him ineligible to be re-selected as Portsmouth South’s MP. However, he controversially retained his post in the Lib Dem-run cabinet as an independent councillor, apparently on a tied 10-10 vote among the city council group. This prompted the resignation of Eleanor Scott from the Lib Dem group, though she remains a party member.

Today it emerged that:

1) Mike Hancock has resigned his post as City Council Cabinet member for Regeneration and Development. It’s reported, however, that he will still be able to attend Lib Dem group meetings but without voting rights.

2) The local Lib Dem party executive has agreed not to field a candidate against Mike Hancock in his Fratton ward at this May’s elections, when he will stand as an independent. The local paper reports that seven voted for the motion, one against and one person abstained.

3) Mike Hancock and Eleanor Scott have been replaced on Portsmouth’s cabinet by two women Lib Dem councillors, Terry Hall and Sandra Stockdale.

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  • paul barker 3rd Feb '14 - 9:52pm

    Do local Parties have the power to decide not to stand candidates, except for reasons of resources ? This is a worrying deveopment, effectively defying the National Party.

  • Relived to hear this – A common sense solution and I support the local party’s right to choose not to oppose him in fighting his council seat.

  • Peter Chegwyn 3rd Feb '14 - 10:46pm

    Absolutely the right decision not to field a candidate against him.

    Mike Hancock is so well entrenched in the Fratton Ward that he’s served for some 40 years that he’ll probably win comfortably as an Independent.

    Remember he’s still not been found guilty of any of the charges levelled against him.

  • Of course the successful Portsmouth Local Party should decide if to put up a candidate in Fratton Ward. Are you seriously suggesting that a Liberal Democrat Local Party should take orders from the National Party like some sort of Whitehall we know best solution.

  • Antony Hook 3rd Feb '14 - 11:37pm

    He has not been charged with any offence. He is being sued in a civil court and the judge has evidently decided (or he has accepted) that the evidence is strong enough that there is an issue to be tried.

    In those circumstances it is entirely right that he should step down from the Lib Dem Group on the Council and from the Lib Dem parliamentary caucus while the outcome of that civil trial is awaited.

  • Perhaps it is worth remembering the last local elections where our party suffered major losses as a result of the performance of the national party. Portsmouth bucked the trend by gaining seats. Only Chris Rennard has the credibility to advise the Portsmouth local party. Portsmouth has the advantage of Mike Hancock’s 42 years service of caring about and helping thousands of people but the Party at Westminster aren’t big enough to withstand trial by newspaper.

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