Portsmouth’s returned Lib Dem council leader wished well by ex-MP Mike Hancock

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (180470-1)
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180470-1)
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FORMER Lib Dem Mike Hancock has wished the party’s new city council leader ‘all the very best’.

Mr Hancock, a former Portsmouth South MP for the Lib Dems and cabinet member at Portsmouth City Council, resigned from the party.

He lost both of his seats amid allegations he always denied about his conduct with a vulnerable constituent.

But he has praised Lib Dem councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, who returned to power as council leader this week following elections after being deposed by Conservative Donna Jones in 2014.

Mr Hancock said: ‘I’ve phoned him, I wish him all the very best.

‘I wish him luck and I hope it goes well for him and working with Liberal Democrats and Labour.

‘I hope they work well together.’

Labour councillors backed Cllr Vernon-Jackon’s election as leader at a full council meeting on Tuesday.

Cllr Jones, ward member for Hilsea and leader of the Tory council group, was leader from 2014 until Tuesday.

She had stepped down at the meeting to allow re-election but Cllr Vernon-Jackson was nominated for the post.

He won 21 votes to Cllr Jones’ 20 votes – in a result that he said left him ‘gobsmacked’.

Both party leaders said they had no idea Labour would support the Lib Dems running a minority administration at the council.

Cllr Jones said she was ‘heartbroken’ at the move.