Mike Hancock MP admits he 'crossed the line' in apology to constituent

The statement was part of a settlement reached in the High Court

Disgraced MP Mike Hancock has issued a public apology to a “vulnerable” constituent who accused him of sexual misconduct after years of denials.

The representative for Portsmouth South, who was suspended from the Liberal Democrats over the scandal and now sits as an independent, reached a settlement with the woman at the High Court in London on Wednesday.

The anonymous woman, known as “Annie”, brought a civil action against him and won the apology as part of the legal agreement.

It read: “In October 2009 you first came to me as a constituent to seek my assistance as your MP and councillor.

“Subsequently and over several months I came to your home on several occasions, sometimes unannounced and conducted a friendship with you that was inappropriate and unprofessional.

“I understand that you felt degraded. I did not treat you with sufficient respect. I made you feel deeply uncomfortable and discriminated against, and I crossed the line.”

The apology said he was “aware” of the power differential between himself as an MP and the woman as his constituent.

Mr Hancock remains in the Priory Hospital in Southampton and a psychiatric report was conducted to confirm he had “full capacity” to make the statement.

The apology continued: “Everyone should feel safe and should be able to have confidence in their political representatives and I am sorry that I made you feel otherwise.

“I have learnt from my mistakes and pledge not to act in the same way again.

“There are no words that can take back the way that I made you feel.

“I can only apologise unreservedly to you for any distress, anger and worsening of your psychiatric condition that I caused.”

Annie (not her real name) approached Mr Hancock over problems with noisy neighbours and respite care for her son.

The single mother reportedly told him about her mental health problems and over the following months he began to see Annie regularly, buy her gifts and take her for dinner.

After Annie, who did not want a sexual relationship, made details of the ordeal public, a series of denials were issued by his office.

Following his suspension from the Lib Dems in January, his spokesman said: “His spokesman said: “These matters have twice been looked at by the police, first in 2010, and in conjunction with the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service], they have found that there is no case for Mr Hancock to answer and have taken no further action.”

The apology said the 68-year-old MP accepted that the woman did not make claims “for financial gain” and she had fought for many years to hold him to account.

It continued: “I myself would have wished for it to be resolved far earlier and I am sorry that it wasn't.

“I express my deep regret to you and your son for any harm my conduct has caused you. It was never my intention to cause either of you any harm.”

Her damages action was due to go to trial this week but following mediation, both sides settled the claim on confidential terms, which included the issuing of Mr Hancock's public apology.

A statement from Annie said: “I am pleased that there has finally been a resolution to what has been a long and hurtful ordeal for me.

“Since the incidents about which I complained happened back in 2010, my physical and mental health have suffered and I am grateful that I may now have some closure to this traumatic episode in the lives of both myself and my son.”

Read more: Hancock suspended from Lib Dems
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high