David Cameron: Mike Hancock case ‘pretty dreadful’

David Cameron
David Cameron
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David Cameron says disgraced MP Mike Hancock’s behaviour is a ‘pretty dreadful case.’

The prime minister told BBC Radio Solent the sooner residents in the 68-year-old’s Portsmouth South constituency can have a Conservative MP in Flick Drummond, the better.

He spoke out after Mr Hancock made a public apology over his ‘inappropriate friendship’ with a female constituent.

But he refused to be drawn on his views as to whether Mr Hancock should quit his role, saying: ‘It’s not for me to say when people should resign and should do this and should do the other, but I think Portsmouth deserves good representation in parliament and I know that Flick is ready to stand forward whenever he stands down, whether that’s now or at the election.’

National Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg yesterday said Mr Hancock would be expelled from the party following the apology issued on his behalf in the High Court on Wednesday.

In the document – part of a financial settlement with the victim - Mr Hancock admits he visited the woman’s home on several occasions, ‘sometimes unannounced,’ and conducted a friendship with her that was ‘inappropriate and unprofessional’ after their first meeting in October 2009.

As reported in The News today, Mr Hancock’s friend of more than 40 years Syd Rapson, who represented Portsmouth North in parliament from 1997 to 2005, penned an open letter calling for him to quit as an MP.

And Penny Mordaunt, the current Portsmouth North MP, has drafted in fellow Tory Flick Drummond to help with a deluge of extra enquiries as Portsmouth south residents refuse to see Mr Hancock as a result of his conduct.

Mr Cameron added: ‘I haven’t read every aspect of this case but it does raise some real questions.

‘Look, we do have processes in our parliament and we are improving them by introducing the concept of recall where if someone is criticised by the standards committee then people could have a petition locally to re-run that election and I think that’s going to be an improvement to our democracy, but I don’t think it’s for me to point the finger and say this one has to do this or this one has to do that but there are real questions he has to answer and frankly from my perspective the sooner the people of Portsmouth South can get a proper choice the better for them.’

Mr Hancock was arrested in 2010 following a complaint made about his behaviour towards a vulnerable constituent with a history of mental health problems.

Hampshire police decided not to press charges following an investigation.

He resigned from the Portsmouth City Council cabinet in February and lost his Fratton seat on the council in the elections last month.