Mike Hancock beaten in Portsmouth election as Lib Dems lose control of city

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MIKE Hancock was today dethroned as a Portsmouth city councillor after 43 years in the role as the Liberal Democrats lost control of the council.

The veteran politician picked up 628 votes, but was beaten at the polls by Ukip’s Julie Swan, who stormed to victory in Fratton with 903 backers.

Mike Hancock

Mike Hancock

Mr Hancock was also beaten by Labour’s Thomas Coles, picking up 754 votes.

Ukip supporters roared with approval as announcement of the result was announced by the returning officer, the city council’s chief executive David Williams.

Cllr Swan said: ‘I am elated. It’s about time people where represented by a normal human being and someone who works for a living.’

Stuart Potter, chairman for Ukip Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s a fantastic result. Over the last week or so I was confident she was going to beat him.’

Mr Hancock was not present at the election count because of ill health.

His local spokesman, Cllr Michael Andrewes, of the Lib Dems, said his election had been fought in ‘difficult’ circumstances given the civil court case pending against him over claims he sexually assaulted a woman and issues with his health.

Cllr Andrewes said: ‘Mike thanks the people of Fratton for the great honour and privilege of being able to serve them as their councillor, and congratulates the new councillor for Fratton on her election and wishes her well.

‘This election obviously has been fought in difficult circumstances and also one that has also been difficult for all the traditional parties in the city.’

Mr Hancock’s wife Jacqui was also a casualty, losing in Charles Dickens ward, narrowly losing to Paul Godier of Ukip.

Ukip also picked up a seat in the Baffins ward, where Steve Hastings beat Liberal Democrat Drusilla Moody.


The controversy that embroiled Mike Hancock


Before the election, the Lib Dems held 23 seats out of 42, but they ended the night with 19.

No party now has an overall majority, but it is not immediately clear how the city will be governed. Ukip were quick to turn down Tory overtures to form a coalition with the Conservatives.

Earlier in the night, Cllr Donna Jones, leader of the city’s Tory group, said she would consider forming a coalition with Ukip if the outcome of the local election resulted in no party having an overall majority.

Speaking at the count, Cllr Jones said: ‘The people of Portsmouth have clearly spoken.

‘It looks like the council may go into a no overall majority situation.

‘As a democratic person, I will sit down and talk to the parties that have councillors elected, particularly Ukip, to see if we can form some sort of minority administration or coalition.’


See the full results here


But Stuart Potter, chairman of Ukip in Portsmouth, said: ‘There is absolutely no chance of a coalition happening, we would be selling ourselves out for our beliefs.

‘It would go against the party views as well.

‘The rest of the parties are power obsessed. We are not about getting hold of power or control, we are about working for the people.’

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem leader and leader of the city council, said it had been a difficult night for the three main parties because of Ukip’s momentum.

‘It has been really difficult for all of us,’ he said.

‘Ukip has done really, really well across the city and we will have Ukip councillors for the first time.’

Ukip won more seats in Portsmouth than any other party, and the Lib Dems lost the most.

They included Nelson ward, where Lib Dem Jason Fazackarley was overturned by Colin Galloway, of Ukip.

The Conservatives lost a seat in Copnor – which was up because Tory member Mike Park was standing down at the end of his election term – but the party gained one in St Jude ward, where Linda Symes replaced Lib Dem Peter Eddis as councillor.

Lib Dem councillor Hugh Mason, who represents St Jude ward and who was not up for election, said the effects of ‘parking displacement’ in the area as a result of the introduction of a new residents’ parking scheme was partly to blame for voters being put off the Lib Dems.

Cllr John Ferrett, leader of the Labour group, said: ‘None of the main parties have made any progress.

‘The only party that has made progress is Ukip.

‘They are a protest party, they don’t offer any real local policy for the people of Portsmouth.

‘It will be really interesting to see how we manage this from here on in.’

European election votes were verified on the night and will be announced on Sunday.