Mike Hancock: Review to be held into Lib Dem procedures

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Beachbuggin on Southsea Common. Picture: Allan Hutchings

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A REVIEW is to be held into the actions of the Portsmouth Liberal Democrats in light of complaints made against members.

Councillor Eleanor Scott, who resigned from the Lib Dems locally earlier this year over its handling of the Hancock scandal, called for the party nationally to take action.

Tim Farron, Lib Dem party president, has now written a letter to her saying that a review will be carried out with members ‘on the basis of concerns’ she had raised about inappropriate behaviour.

He said the exercise would be held following ‘the aftermath, of what has, frankly, been an extremely traumatic time for the party locally – the council group in particular.’

It once again raises questions about the differences between the Lib Dems on a local and national level.

Cllr Scott, who while being an independent councillor holds her membership to the Lib Dems nationally, said: ‘I am really happy this review is being carried out.

‘I hope it will give some of the Lib Dem members the confidence to speak out.

‘Quite a lot of them are decent people and the party isn’t all bad.

‘Hopefully it will give people the opportunity to have their say on things to do with Mike Hancock as well as the atmosphere and culture within the party and Lib Dem council group.’

Cllr Scott said she would also co-operate should the council order an independent investigation into claims of bullying, which was first brought to light by Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt.

The review – managed by the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors (ALDC) – will also see routine advice being given to members following the elections.

Guidance will be offered about the new structure of Portsmouth City Council, which is now run by a Conservative minority administration.

Similar routine support is also being offered to other political groups.

Simon Dodd, chairman of Portsmouth Liberal Democrats, insisted it was a routine review.

Mr Dodd said: ‘It’s got nothing to do with any allegations that have been made and I have not been made aware of any internal complaints that have been made.’

Cllr Scott said the Lib Dems would be ‘deluded’ to think sitting around a table and discussing the elections would solve problems.