Lib Dem crisis: Mike Hancock's son arrested after allegedly punching photographer

Hancock Snr has been suspended from the party after claim of sexual assault

The son of a Liberal Democrat MP currently contesting sex assault claims has been arrested after an incident involving a photographer outside his father's house.

Dean Hancock, 37, has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm following an incident involving a photographer, Hampshire police said. He was released on bail and will appear at Fareham Magistrates Court on February 12.

His father, Mike Hancock, who has been an MP for 19 years, was suspended from the party on Wednesday after the fresh allegations hit. The claims come at a terrible time for the party, whose leader Nick Clegg is still trying to negotiate  way out of the Lord Rennard affair.

Lib Dem sexual harassment row: Nick Clegg says he won’t back down over Lord Rennard apology demands  

And just before 9.30am on Thursday, police were called to Mr Hancock's house following reports of an altercation between a man and members of the media.

Journalists at the scene reported the man as being Mr Hancock's son.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: “A reporter received an injury to his nose during the incident.

“Police officers attended and are conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“A 37-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault, and is being taken into custody where he will be interviewed by officers today."

Mr Hancock's suspension came after the leak of a report commissioned by Portsmouth City Council - where he sits as a councillor - into the allegations against him. The authority decided not to publish the document, or discuss its findings, until a High Court case has been settled.

But a full version of the report by Nigel Pascoe QC, containing a series of lurid allegations, was leaked to a website. The barrister described the woman’s version of events as “credible” and concluded there was evidence of “serious and unwelcome sexual behaviour” by the MP. A Liberal Democrat spokesman said the party saw the report for the first time this afternoon. He said: “Given Nigel Pascoe QC’s conclusions in his report, we have immediately suspended Mike Hancock’s membership.”

Mr Hancock denies the allegations.

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.” He said Mr Hancock had not, following legal advice, given evidence to Mr Pascoe and therefore believed his report was “likely to be one-sided”.

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