Former Portsmouth Lib Dem publishes blog over infamous Mike Hancock scandal
A former Portsmouth Lib Dem councillor caught up in the Mike Hancock scandal has written about her time in politics.
Eleanor Scott has published a series of blog posts largely about the events leading up to her resignation from the city’s Lib Dem group in January 2014 as it came under heavy scrutiny for its handling of the fiasco.
Mr Hancock, then the MP for Portsmouth South and a councillor for Fratton, had been accused of acting inappropriately towards a vulnerable female constituent, an allegation she first made in 2010, but was allowed to keep his role locally.
In an introduction to her blog, Ms Scott said: ‘My major diversion away from archaeology and into politics not only lasted longer than I expected (2002-2015) but ended very differently than I expected, with a media gaze upon me because of my resignation from a job that I valued immensely.’
She added: ‘There’s a lot of material online about the convoluted life story thus far of Hancock.
‘I don’t want to write just another account of events that have already been well documented.
‘And so this is personal.
‘This blog is about a lot of the things that happened from my personal perspective, as they affected me and challenged my personal beliefs and I’m writing it as a series of episodes.’
Ms Scott said she would be preparing a timeline of when she first raised concerns about the political culture in Portsmouth with the Lib Dem hierarchy, including a visit to the Lib Dem HQ in London for the first time in June, 2013.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem leader, said he wasn’t fazed that old troubles had been dug up again.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson, who stood against Mr Hancock in the general election in Portsmouth South, said: ‘She has said she was a good cabinet member and I agree.
‘That’s why I was happy to propose Eleanor as honorary alderman of the city, because she worked hard and effectively. People are entitled to bring things up, freedom of speech is important.
‘But the city has moved on.’
Mr Hancock was allowed to carry on in the Lib Dems in Portsmouth – despite being suspended from the national party after a report by QC Nigel Pascoe into the allegations was published – before he quit the then ruling cabinet.
Mr Hancock went on to admit in a statement issued through the High Court that summer to forming an ‘inappropriate friendship’ with the woman, whose identity is legally kept under wraps.
He lost his MP seat at the 2015 general election to Tory candidate Flick Drummond.
Mr Hancock did not respond to calls from The News.
SHUNNED FROM ‘MIKE’S BUYING BREAKFAST!’
FORMER councillor Eleanor Scott has told of her early encounters with the Hancock family and claimed how they ‘didn’t really like me’.
And she spoke of being excluded from breakfast laid on by Mr Hancock for Lib Dems. Writing on her blog, she said: ‘...I never really knew the Hancocks.
‘I was never invited to their house, never invited to any social gathering that they hosted, and was not invited to things like ‘Mike’s Buying Breakfast!’ occasions on election day mornings, despite having been delivering leaflets since 6am like everyone else.
‘I think they made it pretty obvious from day one that they didn’t really like me.
‘If not day one, then day two. I never found out why.
‘I worked hard, I did my best, I took tough decisions, I cared about getting the right results for the most vulnerable people, and I also cared about loyalty to the Lib Dem group to which I belonged, and I thought I spoke well in the council chamber – but still the Hancocks just didn’t like me.
‘It was puzzling and, at first, hurtful. God knows what was going on. I’m the first to admit I’ve got feet of clay, but they seemed to keep me at arm’s-length over-assiduously.
‘Mike Hancock regularly called me by the wrong name for the best part of 13 years - ‘Helena’ – even though he must have heard my name being spoken by others and read it on council documents hundreds of times. He phoned me once, that I can recall.’