A REPORT has concluded that a Portsmouth councillor has failed to observe the council’s code of conduct.
The investigation by QC Nigel Pascoe was put before Portsmouth City Council’s governance and audit and standards consideration sub-committee today.
This lunchtime the panel of three councillors decided the investigation would be passed to the next stage.
Councillor Donna Jones, who was on the sub committee, said: ‘Myself and two other councillors concluded that the report was comprehensive enough and a hearing will take place in the next few weeks.
‘Cllr Hancock will have the opportunity to defend himself at the hearing.’
At the hearing Cllr Hancock will face the governance and audit and standards hearings sub-committee who will decide if he is guilty of breaking the city council’s code of conduct.
Cllr Hancock will be given the opportunity to respond and question witnesses at the committee meeting.
The Fratton councillor, who is also the MP for Portsmouth South, is facing a civil lawsuit over claims he sexually assaulted a vulnerable woman who had asked for his help.
It is a claim he vigorously denies.
In a statement, a spokesman for Cllr Hancock said: ‘Our understanding is that the role of the sub-committee is only a forwarding one for it to go on to the next sub-committee. Mr Hancock has not seen the report and it is confidential.
‘Mr Hancock asked to meet with the independent investigator and this was denied him despite him raising the refusal with the city council’s solicitor.
‘The police investigated matters from the complainant thoroughly and they found that there was no case to answer.
‘Similar matters by the same complainant are subject to a civil dispute which Mr Hancock is rigorously defending.
‘It is not appropriate therefore unfortunately to provide an on-going running commentary on the matter.’
Mr Hancock has stepped down from the parliamentary Liberal Democrat party while a High Court action takes place.
But he still holds his council cabinet position of head of planning, regeneration and economic development.