Leaders call for Hancock report to be released

UNDER INVESTIGATION Cllr Mike Hancock
UNDER INVESTIGATION Cllr Mike Hancock
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CITY leaders are demanding a report into Mike Hancock’s conduct be made public.

The report, by QC Nigel Pascoe was commissioned by Portsmouth City Council to look into claims the Fratton councillor sexually assaulted a woman. It has been kept under lock and key but has now been leaked.

In the report, Mr Pascoe said he was of the ‘clear view’ that the woman’s account of what happened is credible and merits ‘compassion’ and ‘respect’.

The council says that despite the report being leaked, it won’t release it to the public – but the procedure may be reviewed once a civil case lodged by the woman against Cllr Hancock is finished.

But Cllr John Ferrett, the Labour group leader, said the council’s procedures have been inconsistent since a letter by Mr Pascoe commending the woman as a credible witness was made public.

‘Certain things have been made public, yet the report still remains under wraps,’ he said.

‘I have got some concerns about the consistency during this process.’ Cllr Aiden Gray, deputy Labour group leader, said: ‘We are accountable to the people. It should be right and proper that the public should be allowed to see these things.’

Cllr Luke Stubbs, deputy Conservative group leader, said: ‘The longer this stays hidden, the more we’re all going to assume the worst, and so out of his own self-interest, Mike Hancock should join us in demanding the report’s release.’

Cllr Hancock’s spokesman has previously said he’s not seen the report and it’s likely to be ‘one-sided’ since he wasn’t involved with it.

City solicitor Michael Lawther said: ‘The council’s procedure for dealing with complaints against councillors makes no provision for a copy of a report to be provided to a complainant or to be published. We have therefore been unable to release it.

‘We anticipate that we will be reviewing our procedure once the investigation of this complaint is over.’