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Bid to strip Mike Hancock of his CBE

Mike Hancock with his CBE in 1992

Mike Hancock with his CBE in 1992

 

THE leader of Portsmouth City Council is to lobby the prime minister to strip Mike Hancock of his CBE.

Tory Donna Jones is one of a number of politicians calling for the Portsmouth South MP to have his honour taken away.

They say Mr Hancock has made a ‘mockery’ of the honours system and should ‘pay the price’ after admitting to acting inappropriately towards a vulnerable woman.

Mr Hancock was awarded the title in 1992 for ‘political and public service’, which includes work he did as a district officer for learning disability charity Mencap, which helps vulnerable adults.

As reported, Mr Hancock admitted in June that he ‘crossed the line’ with a woman who came to him for help with noisy neighbours in October 2009.

Cllr Donna Jones, leader of the council, said she plans to write to David Cameron to get the honours forfeiture committee, which considers whether honours should be taken away, to look into the case.

She’s considering putting forward a motion at the next meeting of the full council so members can vote on whether they back the action.

Cllr Jones, who chaired its investigation into Mr Hancock’s conduct, said: ‘It would be entirely appropriate for the honours board to strip him of his CBE given his disgraceful behaviour.

‘He has admitted to forming an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable adult suffering with mental health issues, a fact he was aware of.

‘He targeted her and that proves undeniably he is not of good character.’

Cllr Alistair Thompson, who has called for Mr Hancock to repay the £150,000 cost of Portsmouth City Council’s investigation into his conduct, said: ‘His CBE should be taken away in light of his confession.

‘It makes a mockery of the honours system if you receive an honour for good work with people with mental health difficulties and then abuse your position as an elected politician with someone with these problems.

‘People who receive awards for one thing and then go completely against it should pay the price.’

Meanwhile, Mencap believes the public has a right to see a review be held over the future of his honour from the Queen.

A Mencap spokesman said: ‘Mencap can not comment on the specifics of allegations relating to Mr Hancock, but we believe that where serious allegations of misconduct against an individual are proven in a court of law, the public would expect that honours for public service given to that person be reviewed.’

Lib Dem group leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said he ‘didn’t know’ whether it should be taken away.

‘I know there are Conservative colleagues who are in the House of Lords who have been sent to jail and sent back to sit in the Lords after, so there really are some inconsistencies in this,’ he said.

A decision is set to be made over Mr Hancock’s future in the Lib Dems.

Committee scrutinises whether an award should go

IF the forfeiture committee recommends Mike Hancock’s CBE should be withdrawn, the decision is sent to the Queen by the Prime Minister.

Her Majesty would then decide whether his honour should be forfeited or kept.

Reasons for forfeiture include if someone is sentenced to prison for at least three months or censured or struck off by a professional or regulatory body.

Cases are confidential but if an honour is stripped it is published in the London Gazette. Former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin had his knighthood removed in 2012 in light of the banking crisis in 2008.

A request for the forfeiture committee to look at removing an honour can also be made through the cabinet office.

 

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