Mike Hancock to stand as Independent candidate in Portsmouth South.

The BBC reports that Mike Hancock has announced that he is to stand as an independent candidate in Portsmouth South. Hancock  had the whip withdrawn last year after apologising for inappropriate conduct towards a constituent.

He told BBC News: “I’m going to stand for sure, I’ve made this decision because my health is so much better and I think I owe it to a lot of people who have supported me.

“Once you’ve been an MP for as long as I have it’s hard to just walk away.

“I think if enough people realise that I’m like everyone, I’m a fallible human being who made a mistake but paid a very high price for it… I think I could [win].”

He will go head-to-head with his former party colleague Gerald Vernon-Jackson who will be standing for the Liberal Democrats.

But Mr Hancock said he felt he “did not owe anything” to his old party and was not concerned about taking their votes.

You have to wonder if the rules on resettlement allowances were a factor in his decision. MPs who lose their seats are entitled to a payment of up to six months salary. The qualifications are thus:

  1. To qualify for the Resettlement Payment or Loss of Office Payment, the individual must have been an MP on the day before the dissolution of Parliament and a candidate for re-election for the same seat, but not re-elected.

The official Liberal Democrat candidate is former Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • This is not that surprising: we have suspected and expected this to happen here, in Portsmouth South. The following view(s) are my own, not attached to the Local Party. I am disappointed; “But Mr Hancock said he felt he “did not owe anything” to his old party and was not concerned about taking their votes.” – as a Local Party we acted loyally and supportively until we had no choice, a) because of the National Party and b) the conclusion of the “inappropriate conduct”. We firmly held onto the premise of innocent until proven otherwise, his admission of his ‘fallibility’ in the end and his resignation from the Liberal Democrats has only made us most resolute in regaining the parliamentary seat.
    There is the most wonderful team here, promoting Gerald Vernon-Jackson to be our MP. Yesterday the team of volunteers were delivering flying starts and erecting stake -boards all over Portsmouth south. That Mike is standing in the election to my mind is a case of ego over rationality and perhaps as Caron suggests the resettlement allowance. Either way, it is a terrible payback for the hours of loyalty over the past 18 years. I am sure many here will be bitterly disappointed. I am also sure Gerald Vernon-Jackson will become the new MP and will make a very good MP at that.

  • If Hancock takes close to 20% of the liberal vote, then judging by 2010s result, this seat will be lost to the Conservatives even assuming no other factor depresses it further.

    I bet the Liberal Democrats wish they’d got rid of Hancock years ago when his issues first arose.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 29th Mar '15 - 5:03pm

    g, There is no indication that he would take that much of the Lib Dem vote.

  • I hope Gerald Vernon-Jackson and the Liberal Democrat Team do really well.

    I did not like reading the words —
    “…..Mr Hancock said he felt he “did not owe anything” to his old party and was not concerned about taking their votes.”

    Any MP who is conceited enough to believe that he does not owe anything to anyone else is fooling himself..
    When an MP starts to say things like that, it is time for them to stop being an MP.

    This general election will reveal how much truth there is in the claim that a popular local MP can defy political gravity. There may be some examples of that — but by and large MPs owe almost everything to their party activists, workers and loyal party voters. They should never forget that.

    An MP who is arrogant enough to say that he does not owe his party anything should be given the boot.

  • In the 2014 local elections, Mike Hancock only got 628 votes and came third in Fratton, that was as an independent but in the absence of an official Liberal Democrat candidate. Against Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Hancock would be lucky to get 1,000 votes over the constituency and remember that not all of that would go to Vernon-Jackson if Hancock wasn’t standing. Still that might be enough to make a difference in a tight marginal.

    It would be a bit sad for Hancock to end his political career on a sour note and coming 6th in Portsmouth South would be sour, especially if it’s combined with a Conservative gain.

  • @Reg Yeates

    Good luck with the campaign, Reg. The team there have had, shall we say, an intersting few years but from I’ve seen are delivering an excellent campaign.

  • Caron, considering he lost the council seat last year, I do not think his personal vote will amount to much. In Portsmouth South, what the predictive polls neglect to mention is we have a vastly unpopular Conservative led administration with the full backing of Labour and UKIP. It appears that the Tories PPC hardly communicates with The Leader of the Council (who is so in love with Portsmouth she has been trying to get selected in neighbouring towns) and has a habit of putting her mouth into gear before allowing the brain to warm up, I refer to her recent comments regarding UKIP voters being racist, which caused not a little backlash. May she continue to make such rash judgements.

  • For the sake either of greed or of vanity he risks making it easier for either the Tories or UKIP to win the seat AND he has burnt his bridges with the Liberal Democrats. I sense he will be a very lonely man after the general election, which is not something I would wish on anyone but it is his own choice…

  • I think he will get a fairly low share of the vote.

    The record of MPs standing against their previous party as independents isn’t good and yes he [Hancock] should be standing down anyway.

  • Kevin McNamara 29th Mar '15 - 8:10pm

    Given that he’s detached from our brand nationally, there’s actually nothing to suggest that he will take votes from us exclusively either. Will be very interesting – very, very disappointing decision for him though.

  • Peter Chegwyn 29th Mar '15 - 10:43pm

    Watching this situation develop from the next door constituency has not been pleasant and I feel for those friends and colleagues in Portsmouth South like Reg Yeates who have had to deal with a very difficult situation.

    I’ve known Mike for over 30 years. I worked full-time for him when he was first elected in 1984 and I served as a member of Hampshire County Council under his excellent leadership. He has been a fine MP for the people of Portsmouth for 20 years and a superb local councillor for over 43 years. If it wasn’t for his huge personal following and his skilled campaigning it is unlikely that the Liberal Democrat Party would have risen from having no councillors in Portsmouth to a position of control.

    That said, he would be the first to admit he has some personal failings. Previous media revelations about his personal life probably cost him a seat in the European Parliament in the mid-1990s but he bounced back and re-gained the Portsmouth South constituency seat in 1997, holding it three times since with comfortable majorities.

    As an MP and Councillor he has worked incredibly hard for his constituents and there are many thousands of Portsmouth residents who still feel great loyalty to him. I suspect that those who say he won’t get 1,000 votes in May underestimate him. Yes, he lost his City Council seat last year but he was in hospital at the time and unable to campaign personally at all. Despite that he still came within 275 votes of victory without knocking on a single door or delivering a single leaflet for himself, and despite being under severe attack in the media for months beforehand. Not many Liberal Democrats would have managed that!

    The real tragedy of this situation is that a completely useless Conservative candidate (useless even by Conservative standards) is now more likely to gain the Portsmouth South seat. I know Gerald Vernon-Jackson and his team will work tirelessly to stop that happening. I doubt whether Mike will want a Conservative to win. Both Gerald and Mike are far superior candidates to the truly awful Conservative. If our vote splits and lets the Conservative win then it won’t just be Gerald, Mike and the Liberal Democrat Party who lose out, it will also be the people of Portsmouth South who deserve far better than a very weak and very right-wing Conservative to represent their interests.

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