AN INVESTIGATION into the conduct of Fratton councillor Mike Hancock has taken another step forward.
The Portsmouth City councillor and MP for Portsmouth South is being investigated by the local authority after one of his constituents claimed he sexually assaulted her.
The investigation has taken months and has reportedly cost the council £45,000 in legal fees and public meetings.
It was decided at a meeting of the council’s governance and audit and standards committeeyesterday, that full power should be given to a sub-committee to make a decision when it meets next Friday.
The discussion was held in private, with public and press excluded, so that the meeting next week would not be prejudiced.
A summary was made by Councillor Terry Hall.
Cllr Hall said: ‘It was a procedural matter. The sub-committee does not at present have the power to postpone the meeting unless this committee gives them that delegated authority.
‘[We] have put forward a motion that gives them the authority before the meeting next week.’
The city solicitor clarified they were not making a decision, that it was just a preliminary matter and that there was no indication either way of how it will be dealt with.
The motion was agreed unanimously by councillors..
Speaking after the meeting Cllr Aiden Gray, who was on the governance and audit and standards committee, said: ‘It was a rubber stamping exercise so that there will be no more delays. When it goes to the meeting they will be able to make a decision.
‘Next Friday is the big one. That is when the outcome will be decided. It is a case of waiting for that to happen.’
Cllr Hancock did not attend the meeting. When approached by The News, Cllr Hancock said: ‘My priorities are tied up with the navy base at the moment and with people with very big and real problems. Whatever will happen, will happen.’