Councillors want to see end to city MP investigation

PROBE Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock
PROBE Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock
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POLITICIANS hope the probe into Mike Hancock’s conduct will be wrapped up as soon as possible.

Nigel Pascoe QC is due to come back to Portsmouth City Council with a report into the matter surrounding the MP within weeks.

The governance and audit and standards committee will look at the findings and decide whether to agree.

If both agree Mr Hancock hasn’t done anything wrong, then that will be the end of the matter until High Court proceedings begin.

If problems are detected then a hearing will be held.

As reported, Mr Hancock, who is also a Fratton councillor, is being sued in a civil action by a female constituent over allegations of sexual assault. He has always denied the claims, which centred over a series of text messages allegedly sent to her and unwanted sexual advances.

He has stepped down from the parliamentary Liberal Democrat party while the inquiry takes place.

Cllr Donna Jones, who has been chairwoman of the committee’s proceedings into the matter, said a decision needed to be made quickly.

‘In the interest of all parties involved, this investigation needs to be concluded as a matter of urgency and that is what I urge the city council’s city solicitor Michael Lawther,’ she said. ‘No-one wants this around their neck.’

The Crown Prosecution Service has previously investigated the allegations, but dismissed them and did not take the case to court.

Though Mr Hancock has asked for the council’s investigation to be delayed until after legal proceedings, the local authority has decided to press ahead anyway.

The News understands the decision was made because it would have faced a judicial review otherwise.

Mr Hancock said: ‘I have had no personal contact with the council whatsoever, and I have not spoken to my solicitor so I am none the wiser.

‘This is news to me. I will speak to someone face to face when I am back in the council next week.’