There should be only one conclusion – it’s time to go

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STEVE CANAVAN: Making a molehill out of Malcolm, my very minor ailment

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One thing you can say about Mike Hancock is that he’s a survivor.

He’s been in the political jungle a long time and has proved himself a clever operator adept at riding out storms.

But today there is a widespread feeling that the Portsmouth South MP’s time is finally up.

Four years after a constituent first accused him of sexually harassing her after she approached him for help with noisy neighbours, Mr Hancock has apologised for his actions as part of a high court settlement of a civil case that she brought against him.

In a statement he admitted he ‘crossed the line’ when he visited her home and said his conduct was inappropriate and unprofessional.

Though the apology is not an admission of guilt over her claims, it certainly paints Mr Hancock in a very poor light.

It appears that a man who holds public office badly abused the trust that was placed in him. And that is simply not acceptable.

The woman says the incidents, which happened back in 2009 and 2010 have affected her physical and mental health and refers to them being a ‘traumatic episode’ in her life.

Mr Hancock himself accepts that his actions left her feeling degraded.

That is not the behaviour we should expect from our representatives in parliament.

And what of the Liberal Democrat party in all of this?

Will it now permanently exclude suspended Mr Hancock? Leader Nick Clegg is already under pressure over claims that the party failed to properly investigate sexual harassment allegations against Lord Rennard and the activities of the late Cyril Smith MP, who has since been named by police as a paedophile.

As for local party members who backed Mr Hancock and implied the woman was only pursuing a civil case for money, they now have questions to answer, too.

But the biggest question remains whether Mr Hancock should quit as an MP. As he reflects on what has happened, we believe he should come to only one conclusion.

It’s time to go.