Mike Hancock says he stood in Portsmouth South because he doesn’t like Lib Dem rival Gerald Vernon-Jackson

File pictures of Gerald Vernon-Jackson (left) and Mike Hancock
File pictures of Gerald Vernon-Jackson (left) and Mike Hancock
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Former Liberal Democrat Mike Hancock told an election forum he is standing in Portsmouth South because he doesn’t like the party’s candidate there.

Mr Hancock, who is seeking to retain the key seat as an independent, made the comment about his former city council colleague Gerald Vernon-Jackson during a BBC Radio Solent debate.

‘I don’t think I would have stood if Gerald hadn’t been the Lib Dem candidate. I don’t like him’ said Mr Hancock.

‘I lost trust in Gerald and I wouldn’t like to have someone follow me who I couldn’t trust, so why should the people of Portsmouth trust him?’

Mr Vernon-Jackson, a former leader of Portsmouth City Council, replied: ‘Politics needs to be less about personality and giving an offer to the people of the city and what policies they can put through.’

Mr Hancock, who has held Portsmouth South since 1997, resigned from the Lib Dems last year after issuing an apology for an ‘inappropriate and unprofessional friendship’ with a vulnerable constituent.

He told The News he regretted saying he was solely defending his Portsmouth South seat because Gerald Vernon-Jackson is the Lib Dem candidate.

He said: ‘I really regret what I said there, it’s not the only reason I’m standing. In the context of what we were talking about, I made it perfectly clear I was also standing for the people.

‘With regards to Gerald, I don’t trust him. I am really surprised that someone like Gerald is putting out a letter for people to sign saying they would only support him.

‘I have never known any candidate in any election wanting his colleagues to sign a pledge to him.’