Clegg praised for his handling of MP claim

LETTERS Nick Clegg
LETTERS Nick Clegg
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THE deputy prime minister has reiterated that swift action was taken against Mike Hancock once allegations about his conduct were made public.

As reported, the Fratton councillor and Portsmouth South MP is accused of sexually assaulting a female constituent, who has lodged a civil case against him at the High Court over what she says happened.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has now written to her explaining that he ordered the party’s chief whip to investigate the matter once he knew of the claims.

As a result, Cllr Hancock resigned the parliamentary whip – making him an independent MP.

Mr Clegg’s letter was in response to one written by the woman, who wanted assurances that the situation had been taken seriously.

She also asked for a meeting with the politician – but that was turned down since legal proceedings and the city council’s probe into Cllr Hancock’s conduct are still going on.

The woman said: ‘I am very pleased that Nick Clegg has taken the matter very seriously.

‘Sadly, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, wasn’t so sympathetic in dealing with me.

‘I always knew that until the case is over, it wouldn’t be likely that I could meet Nick Clegg.’

Cllr Vernon-Jackson has previously said he can’t be part of the process because of the position he holds.

Meanwhile, Cllr Hancock is expected to remain in hospital for up to 10 days after going in for treatment 12 days ago.

As reported, he has quit his role as the council’s portfolio holder for planning, regeneration and economic redevelopment and has been suspended from the Lib Dems.