Mike Hancock victim says apology from Lib Dem councillor over secret film ‘isn’t good enough’

Mike Hancock at his home in Portchester
Mike Hancock at his home in Portchester
Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane 

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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  • Councillor says she offered to meet victim but was turned down
  • Woman says letter looks like it’s come from legal team and not from the Lib Dem who secretly filmed her during council debate
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THE victim of disgraced former MP Mike Hancock who was secretly filmed by a female councillor has hit out at her attempt to apologise for what happened.

Portsmouth Lib Dem Margaret Foster was ordered to write a letter of apology to the woman after a complaints panel ruled she filmed her during a council meeting in October last year.

I am still under the mental health service. It just shows you the council doesn’t take vulnerable adults seriously.

Victim of disgraced former MP Mike Hancock

Panellists agreed Cllr Foster had been ‘disrespectful’ to the vulnerable resident – who has lifetime anonymity after she first made allegations about the way former Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock behaved towards her in 2010.

Ex-Lib Dem Mr Hancock admitted in a statement issued through the High Court in 2014 following a civil dispute that he had formed an ‘inappropriate friendship’ with the woman and ‘crossed the line’.

In her apology letter, Cllr Foster wrote that she was ‘very sorry that this happened’ and ‘in particular for any distress that I may have caused you’ – but the woman says that’s not good enough as Cllr Foster hasn’t owned up to what she did.

And she criticised the letter for its ‘legal speak’ and doesn’t believe Cllr Foster wrote it herself.

But the councillor said the letter is in her own words and believes the matter should now be over.

Speaking to The News, the woman said: ‘She doesn’t admit in the letter to what she has done. It doesn’t look like her own writing and it looks like a legal letter written on her behalf. I wanted an apology from herself face-to-face and in writing, but the panel said I could only have one form of apology. The Lib Dems just seem to have a habit of denying everything until they are found out.’

The woman, who has a history of mental health issues, is also angry the complaints process took a year to wrap up. She said: ‘I am still under the mental health service. It just shows you the council doesn’t take vulnerable adults seriously.’

Cllr Foster, who represents Charles Dickens ward, said she had offered to meet the woman, but was ‘turned down’.

She said: ‘I offered to meet her face-to face, she has turned that down. I have given my apology in my letter and that’s it. I am not going to say any more on it.

‘As far as I am concerned, I have done what has been asked of me, this should be finished now.’