This is the full statement issued by the woman to whom Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock apologised today.
’I’m pleased there’s been a resolution to what’s been a long and hurtful ordeal for me. Since the incidents about which I complained happened back in 2010, my physical and mental health have suffered andIi’m grateful that I may now have some closure to this traumatic episode in the lives of both me and my son.
I’m pleased the defendant now recognises that i did not bring the case for financial gain. I only ever sought justice and an apology from Mr Hancock. and that is what my legal team fought to obtain throughout.
‘Some Liberal Democrat councillors serving on Portsmouth City Council have sought publicly to discredit myself and my motives for bringing and action against Mr Hancock, ignoring and even trying to undermine the independent investigation report commissioned by their own QC Nigel Pascoe.
Finally, I’d urge anyone else who has suffered from unwarranted approaches where someone particularly in public office, has abused their trust to come forward.’
The woman’s solicitor Harriet Wistrich said: ‘This is a powerful and extensvce apology from the defendant which importantly recognises the in-built power differential between an MP and his constituent.
‘That power creates the the potential for huge exploitation. Vulnerable adults, including those with mental health problems, suffer huge hurdles in persuading the criminal justice system of their credibility.
I pay tribute to my client who has battled for justice for years and faced extraordinary hurdles. It’s outrageous that she was blocked from having her complaint investigated and resolved by so many of the regulatory systems that should have been available to her. I hope that MPs will now reconsider this case and appreciate the need for the sort of regulation that already apply to most professions to be extended to these sort of relationship.