PORTSMOUTH’S independent MP Mike Hancock says his lack of party affiliation ‘does not matter a hoot’ for the city as the next general election looms.
Mr Hancock says he resigned from the Liberal Democrats ‘a while ago’ and is yet to decide whether he will stand as a candidate in the election for Portsmouth South next year.
Speaking to The News, Mr Hancock said the poll will be ‘an interesting election’ in the city whether he decides to stand or not. He said he will continue his work in parliament despite not being linked to any political party.
His long-time friend and former colleague at Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, has already been selected as the Lib Dems’ candidate for Portsmouth South.
Mr Hancock said: ‘I resigned a while ago and that all there is to it. I am not commenting on it at all. They have done what they have done.’
Asked if being a member of one of the main political parties would give Portsmouth a stronger voice, he said: ‘I don’t think it matters a hoot if you are in a political party in the last seven or eight months of a parliament.
‘I was back in parliament over the weeks when it came back from the summer. I am seeing people today and tomorrow; my advice centre is full. I will continue doing the job I do.’
Asked if he had come to a decision on whether he will be standing as a candidate in next year’s election, Mr Hancock said: ‘I think it is far too early to say. It will be an interesting enough election in Portsmouth South, with or without me.’
Flick Drummond, the Conservative party’s candidate for the constituency, said Mr Hancock will have ‘no influence in parliament’ as an independent member.
She said: ‘As an independent member of parliament, Mr Hancock has very little influence, which is not good news for Portsmouth South at a time when we need a strong voice ensuring we get the right investment in jobs and education.’
As reported, Mr Hancock was suspended from the Lib Dems earlier this year over alleged inappropriate conduct towards a female constituent.
He denied the accusations but after the victim brought a civil case, Mr Hancock settled out of court and admitted forging an inappropriate friendship with her.
After being suspended, he became an independent MP.