Council gives up all hope of Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock footing £38,000 legal bill

Mike Hancock
Mike Hancock
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HOPES of Mike Hancock repaying the £38,000 cost of a probe into his conduct have been dashed.

The Portsmouth South MP has repeatedly refused to pay back a penny of an investigation carried out by the authority into whether he misbehaved towards a female constituent when he was a councillor.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, Tory deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, has admitted there is nothing else it can do now to make Mr Hancock pay since there is nothing in law stipulating he must pay up.

The council had already sent Mr Hancock a letter requesting he foot the bill, but he has declined to act on it.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘The letter was designed to flush him out, and if there was any chance he would have paid this money then it would have been this that could have persuaded him to do it.

‘However, if he is not going to, then legally there is probably nothing we can do.

‘There are a series of things that we are needing to scale back because of funding reductions, and £38,000 spent on investigating Mike Hancock strikes at the core really.

‘If he had admitted to it in the first place then we wouldn’t have needed to pay out such a large sum, and morally he should repay the taxpayers for their expense.’

The council’s investigation was ordered by councillors in 2013, but Mr Hancock repeatedly refused to participate given there were civil legal proceedings lodged by the woman against him at the time.

He later went on to apologise for his actions through the High Court.

Cllr John Ferrett, Labour group leader, said: ‘It’s disappointing firstly Mike Hancock has not done the honourable thing and reimbursed the money, because we know all of the costs would not have been incurred had he admitted to what he admitted to four years after the event.’

Mr Hancock refused to be drawn into the discussion and said he was more interested in when the council’s bullying investigation will be concluded.

The council says a draft report by Richard Lingard, who is leading the probe, is in the hands of the city solicitor and he will decide whether it has been carried out properly.