Calls for Mike Hancock’s suspension from Portsmouth City Council cabinet

SUSPENSION CALLS Portsmouth city councillor Mike Hancock
SUSPENSION CALLS Portsmouth city councillor Mike Hancock

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OPPOSITION leaders on Portsmouth City Council want Mike Hancock to be suspended from his cabinet position in light of allegations made against him.

Portsmouth’s council opposition groups want the Portsmouth South MP to temporarily give up his role as cabinet member for regeneration and economic development at the city council.

Labour group leader Councillor John Ferrett and Conservative leader Cllr Simon Bosher wrote a letter calling for his suspension, which has been backed by members of their parties.

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

He has always denied the claims, which are centred over a series of text messages allegedly sent to her and claims of unwanted sexual advances.

The council is due to launch an investigation into the matter.

Cllr Bosher said: ‘We are not making any accusations or any suggestions of implied guilt. But as council officers would be expected to be suspending pending investigation we feel members should be treated in exactly the same way.’

Cllr Ferrett added: ‘I would hope that given his (Mr Hancock’s) experience he would have stepped aside by now. Given the circumstances we have little option.’

A copy of the letter has been sent to Lib Dem council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson. The Conservative group hope he will pass it on to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems nationally.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘There is no suggestion Mike can’t do his job properly. As long as he can do his job people should continue to support him.’

Mr Hancock, who is currently recovering from ill health, said: ‘This is news to me. No-one has sent the letter to me. I will go on doing the best I can serving the people of Fratton and Portsmouth. I don’t intend to stand down. I intend to fight the issue when I am fit and able to.’