Shock as Mike Hancock announces he will stand in General Election

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DISGRACED Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock has announced he will stand as an independent candidate next month.

The 68-year-old, who has spent long spells in hospital recovering from major heart surgery and mental health problems over the past two years, will stand against his former Liberal Democrat colleague Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

Speaking to the BBC’s Peter Henley, Mr Hancock, who last year admitted he ‘crossed the line’ with a vulnerable constituent who accused him of sexual misconduct, said: ‘I’m going to stand, for sure.

‘I have made this decision, firstly because my health is getting so much better. And secondly, I owe it to a lot of people who supported me over the years.

‘It’s hard to just walk away and this election is a strange election. No one can truly predict who is going to win Portsmouth South, let alone the whole country.’

Asked if he thinks he can retain the seat he has held since 1997, he said: ‘If enough people realise I’m like everyone – I’m a fallible human being who made a mistake and paid a very high price – and can get over that and put it into perspective.’