Council hands Hancock file to police

Mike Hancock
Mike Hancock
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GIVING police a dossier on city councillor Mike Hancock’s conduct was the proper thing to do, according to the council’s Labour leader.

Opposition parties in Portsmouth had been calling for the file on Lib Dem Cllr Hancock, who is also the MP for Portsmouth South, to be handed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to determine whether there was a criminal case to answer.

It concerns claims he sexually assaulted a vulnerable constituent, which the councillor strongly denies, and has been put together by barrister Nigel Pascoe QC at the request of the council to determine whether Cllr Hancock has broken the authority’s code of conduct.

In a letter to council chief executive David Williams, Labour leader John Ferrett and deputy Tory leader Luke Stubbs demanded the file be passed to the CPS – even though it already decided not to prosecute two years ago.

But last night it emerged the council handed the file over to Hampshire Constabulary at the request of the force.

Cllr Ferrett supported the decision.

He said: ‘It needed to be looked at to see whether there is a criminal case to answer, and if they feel there is a case to answer then that seems to be the proper way of dealing with it.

‘I received a response from David Williams earlier this morning saying it was not for the council to refer the case to the CPS, it was for the police to do.

‘I had planned to say in that case we should consider referring the report to the police but it seems that has been pre-empted by the police demanding it.’

When contacted by The News last night, Mr Hancock said: ‘I don’t know anything about it.

‘Nobody has phoned me or told me anything so I don’t want to comment until I know more.’

The move comes after a council sub-committee decided Cllr Hancock should face a hearing over his conduct.

The only councillors who have seen the top-secret report are the three who belong to the sub-committee: Liberal Democrats Terry Hall and Les Stevens, and Tory leader Donna Jones.

A civil case based on the same allegations is currently going through the courts.

While it continues, Cllr Hancock is acting as an independent MP, having resigned the Lib Dem whip while the case is ongoing.