Portsmouth MP Hancock defiant after party disciplinary threat

Mike Hancock MP
Mike Hancock MP
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PORTSMOUTH South MP Mike Hancock insists he has no intention of leaving the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Clegg will sit down with Mr Hancock, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes and the party’s Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael to discuss whether he should have his Parliamentary whip withdrawn.

If they choose to remove it then Mr Hancock would be expelled from the Liberal Democrats and become an independent MP.

The move comes following Mr Hancock’s receipt of legal papers involving a High Court civil case against him.

As previously reported in The News, Mr Hancock has been accused of subjecting a Portsmouth woman to ‘upsetting sexual treatment’ over the course of 10 months after she approached him for help with a neighbourhood dispute in 2009.

Mr Hancock said: ‘I have no intention of stepping down from my position or the party.

‘It’s standard procedure. It’s what they do in all cases.

‘I maintain my innocence 100 per cent.

‘When this goes to court, I will fight my corner.

‘This is a civil matter. Someone is trying to get money out of me.

‘I could have made an offer and walked away, but I am not going to give in to people.

‘I will sensitively tackle this issue to the best of my ability.

‘I am told this could take up to a year.’

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: ‘Following Mike Hancock’s receipt of legal papers in a High Court civil action, Nick Clegg has asked the Chief Whip to convene an urgent meeting under the disciplinary procedures of the parliamentary party between Nick Clegg, Mike Hancock, Simon Hughes and the Chief Whip.

‘Mike Hancock strenuously denies the accusations.

‘We are not pre-judging the outcome of the case, but given the seriousness of the allegations, Nick Clegg has instructed the Chief Whip to invoke the disciplinary procedures of the party.’

The claims are centered over a series of text messages allegedly sent by Mr Hancock to the woman as well as unwanted sexual advances.

The Crown Prosecution Service has previously investigated the allegations, but dismissed them and did not take the case to court.

The woman is now suing him in a civil case, alleging that he also kissed her on several occasions without her consent, and is asking for damages of up to £50,000.