Mike Hancock resignation letter released

Portsmouth council leader condemns Barcelona attack

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Letters sent between Cllr Mike Hancock and Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson have been made public.

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Dear Gerald

I am writing today to tender my resignation as Council Cabinet member for Planning, Regeneration and Development. I apologise for any problems that recent events may have caused you or the Liberal Democrat Group. I am though always a fighter for the city that I love and have dedicated my political life to. That is probably the Pompey way!

I should stress that the Pascoe report has only had evidence from one side. On legal advice, I was not able to give evidence to him due to being sued for civil damages by the complainant. These allegations have twice been looked at by the police. The second time after they had the Pascoe report and they have not brought any charges against me. This is the only complaint against me in 42 years. I look forward to rebutting these allegations very strongly in the civil court and to the standards committee. I am, of course disappointed by the circus this has become and I, for my part, have refrained from giving an on-going commentary tempting though it has been.

I am grateful for support and good wishes from the whole Lib Dem group and many constituents. I am proud to have helped build up the Lib Dems in Portsmouth from when I was the only SDP councillor. In difficult financial times, we have, I believed delivered for the people of Portsmouth and that is what counts. We have the lowest council tax in the area, kept weekly bin collections and opened libraries when other councils have been closing them. I am pleased that as Cabinet member, we have a new terminal at the Port, significant regeneration for the city and in conjunction with Southampton got the city deal.

I am disappointed that the only policy of Labour and the Conservatives seems to have is to attack me rather than help the people of Portsmouth. Indeed it is interesting that while I was helping people at my advice surgery, they were apparently organising a petition against me.

I will of course continue to support the Lib Dem administration as an independent. The essential thing now is for the whole Lib Dem group to unite and work for the people of Portsmouth. And I for my part will do my best to work to do the best for the city.

Best wishes

Mike Hancock

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Dear Mike

Thank you for your letter tendering your resignation from the Portsmouth City Council Cabinet, which I accept.

I regret that recent circumstances have led to this position. You have always firmly denied the accusations against you but the English Party decided to suspend your membership on seeing the leaked report from Mr Pascoe QC which I believe has inevitably led to the current conclusion.

The court case will enable you to give you side of the story and to defend yourself against the allegations made. The court is the proper place for this matter to be heard and concluded. However, continued media speculation is not helpful to the work we need to do in Portsmouth, as you recognise.

Like you I am proud of all that we have achieved over the last decade. As a group we have been able to protect the services people want while keeping the council tax to the lowest in the area. To have done this while we face relentless financial pressure is a real achievement.

Your contribution to Portsmouth and to the city council over the last 43 years has been very powerful as has been your work on regeneration and economic development. It is, I believe, no coincidence that Portsmouth has weathered the current economic storm better than many other cities, even after recent poor decisions by the Government. The continued success and development of the ferry port, the Tipner regeneration scheme and the City Deal are a great testament to the work you have done as a City Council Cabinet member.

You have always put working very hard for local residents at the heart of what you do helping thousands upon thousands of people in Portsmouth. I know you will continue that work as an MP and councillor.

Best wishes

Cllr Gerald Vernon Jackson