OPPOSITION leaders say they do not understand why Mike Hancock has not stepped down from his role as a cabinet member.
As previously reported, Mr Hancock stepped aside as a parliamentary representative of the Liberal Democrats, after a civil law suit was brought against him over ‘very serious’ allegations of sexual assault.
He has denied the claims, which date back to 2010.
Mr Hancock is also a cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, and represents the Fratton ward of Portsmouth – roles that he will be continuing.
This is despite an ongoing council investigation into the allegations.
But Councillor John Ferrett, leader of the Labour party, and Councillor Donna Jones, who heads the Conservative party, both believe he should step down.
Cllr Ferrett said: ‘I think the council should take the same approach as the Liberal Democrat party.
‘I have written to the council leader about Mike Hancock before, and think he should be suspended from his cabinet position, while the council investigation is ongoing.’
Cllr Jones believes Mr Hancock should be treated like a member of staff.
She said: ‘I accept he is elected, but if he was a staff member, he would be suspended at the moment.
‘I’m not saying he’s guilty, however he’s in a privileged position and privy to more information, and should step down from his cabinet role.’
Mr Hancock has defended his position, he said: ‘I shouldn’t step down because I think I’m doing a good job and will continue.
‘This does not affect what I’m doing whatsoever.
‘I will give my version in the courts because that is the right place.’
Mr Hancock was arrested by police over the allegations, but no action was taken as the Crown Prosecution Service said there was insufficient evidence.
The 37-year-old victim at the centre of the case has spoken about the matter.
She said: ‘He has overstepped the mark and I just feel nobody has been listening to me for three years.
‘I want him to go because I don’t want this to happen to any other woman. I went to him for help, that’s all I did.’