SPECULATION is mounting that Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock will attempt to keep his seat by standing as an independent in the general election.
His team has distributed leaflets across the constituency outlining his achievements since taking office in 1997.
But the 68-year-old has refused to be drawn on whether or not the move meant he was planning another campaign.
Mr Hancock said the leaflet drop was ‘nothing unusual’ as he had received electioneering fliers from candidates himself.
Mr Hancock said: ‘I think I have had about five or six leaflets dropped through my door in the last two months.
‘I will make a statement about my decision in my time. Nominations don’t have to be in until April 9, which happens to be my birthday.’
Nominations don’t have to be in until April 9, which happens to be my birthday.Mike Hancock
The leaflets say Mr Hancock has ‘a strong record of speaking up for Portsmouth’, and that he has asked 8,200 questions in parliament over the past eight years.
He resigned from the Lib Dems in June last year during a court case in which he was accused of ‘improper conduct’ by a woman from Portsmouth South.
Tory candidate Flick Drummond said she welcomed the chance to go another round against Mr Hancock.
Ms Drummond stood against him in the 2010 election, but won only 13,721 votes to Mr Hancock’s 18,921.
‘Bring it on,’ she said. ‘This is the second time I will have stood against him and this time I’m hoping I’m going to win.
‘If he wants to stand it’s absolutely fine – he’s been an MP for a long time.
‘I think people feel let down because he said he would get rid of tuition fees but obviously that didn’t happen.’
Green Party candidate Ian McCulloch said Mr Hancock should end the speculation as to whether he would run.
He said: ‘I think it would be nice if he just came out and declared one way or another about what he is going to do.
‘I would welcome anybody who wants to stand to put their hat into the ring.’
Lib Dem candidate for the seat, Gerald Vernon Jackson, was coy about his thoughts on the possibility of running against his former colleague.
‘Let’s see what happens,’ he said. ‘I know what he’s going to do.’
Labour candidate Sue Castillon said: ‘This is entirely up to Mike Hancock as incumbent ex-Lib Dem MP.
‘Portsmouth South residents will decide on May 7 who they want to represent them in parliament.’