MP Mike Hancock has declared he is not ‘taking seriously’ demands for him to pay back the cost of an investigation into his conduct – and says councillors should cover the bill instead.
The Portsmouth South MP is refusing to act on a letter sent by the city council requesting he settle the £38,236 it spent scrutinising his behaviour during his time as a councillor.
And Mr Hancock said the matter would be sorted if elected members dipped into their expenses and paid since he never wanted the investigation to happen in the first place.
‘If the council is so keen on the costs being recovered, then I think the councillors should use their expenses to get this money back,’ Mr Hancock said.
‘Cllr Donna Jones (leader of the council) could probably put £2,000 in and Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dem group leader) could contribute £2,000, and the rest of the councillors could put it whatever it takes.’
‘I won’t take this seriously because it is a political stunt.
‘My suggestion is as nonsensical as theirs is.’
Mr Hancock – a former Fratton councillor – was subject to an inquiry last year over claims he behaved inappropriately towards a female constituent who came to him for help in 2009.
The inquiry was dropped after he lost his seat in the local elections in May and he went on to apologise for his actions in a statement issued through the High Court this year.
Cllr Jones said: ‘The two councillors who delayed the investigation and asked second and third legal opinions was Mike Hancock’s mate, Lib Dem Cllr Les Stevens, and Lib Dem Cllr Terry Hall.
‘Therefore, Mr Hancock is insinuating they should pay back that money.’