Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock appears at former aide’s hearing

22/2/2011 (CS) MIKE HANCOCK ''Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock arriving at Southampton Magistrates Court on Tuesday to give evidence.''Picture: Sarah Standing (-7679)
22/2/2011 (CS) MIKE HANCOCK ''Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock arriving at Southampton Magistrates Court on Tuesday to give evidence.''Picture: Sarah Standing (-7679)

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MIKE Hancock has denied claims he asked Katia Zatuliveter to pass a document about Russia to a reporter.

The MP for Portsmouth South made a surprise appearance at the special immigration appeal hearing of his former aide in London yesterday.

APPEAL Katia Zatuliveter

APPEAL Katia Zatuliveter

The 26-year-old Russian worked as a parliamentary assistant for Mr Hancock and says she was his mistress for almost four years.

She is now fighting a deportation order because the Home Office believes she is a spy for the Russian government.

Journalists were briefly allowed into the closed session to hear the MP insist that two pieces of information provided by Miss Zatuliveter were wrong.

He told the hearing he never asked the former aide to pass a Ministry of Defence document to a reporter and that an entry in her diary suggesting he visited Iraq in May 2006 was incorrect.

After the hearing, Mr Hancock said: ‘What was written in her diary wasn’t accurate. It was common knowledge that I didn’t go on that trip and it was easily checked.’

He added: ‘Katia also said that I had asked her to pass a response to a journalist.

‘It was an MoD response to a defence committee report, and a public document. But she never received it from me, it was sent to her in the normal way. And I have emails from the reporter which back that up.’

Mr Hancock said he received a letter on Friday asking him to answer some questions.

‘I wasn’t called as a witness,’ he said. ‘They sent me the questions in advance because I was off sick. Really I could have said no but I was told that could have held up the hearing for two months.’

He added that he didn’t know why his former aide had made mistakes in her submissions to the hearing, but that the whole process was taking up at lot of time and money.

‘I think if she has done something they should charge her with it,’ he said. ‘They should put that evidence in a court of law.’

Defector’s spy claims ‘utter tosh’

PORTSMOUTH South’s MP has again dismissed as ‘utter tosh’ reports that his aide was the most successful Russian spy in 30 years.

Former Soviet agent-turned defector Oleg Gordievsky repeated claims on Russian radio – first made in December 2010 – that Katia Zatuliveter used her four-year relationship with Mike Hancock to pass British military secrets to the Kremlin. The 73-year-old said: ‘Basically, she made Great Britain disarmed against Russia. It is a big crime.’

But Mr Hancock said: ‘It is complete and utter tosh.

‘He repeats that story every time this comes up and no serious person takes any notice of him.’