Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock quits Liberal Democrat whip to fight sexual allegations

 

The Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock quit the party whip last night to defend himself against accusations he made improper sexual advances to a constituent.

The Portsmouth South MP made the announcement after a meeting with the party's leader Nick Clegg.

His moves follows an allegation from a constituent, who is described as vulnerable, that he behaved inappropriately towards her after she visited him at a constituency surgery.

She is taking a civil case against him after police dropped their investigation.

A Lib Dem spokesman said: "Mike Hancock strenuously denies the allegations made in the civil case and intends to clear his name in court."

The MP was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault in 2010 but never charged. He was accused of "inappropriate behaviour", which he denied, towards a female constituent following a series of visits he made to her home. It was alleged he placed his hand on her breast, exposed himself and kissed her without consent.

In a letter to party chief whip Alistair Carmichael, Mr Hancock wrote: “‘I can assure you that I will continue to vigorously defend my position and that I completely refute the allegations made against me. I’m doing this in the best interests of the party nationally and in Portsmouth and for my family. I will continue to work hard for my constituents in Portsmouth as I have always done.”

But the fallout is likely to send shockwaves through the Liberal Democrat party which is still reeling in the aftermath of allegations. 

The woman's solicitor, Harriet Wistrich, said she wrote to the party in October 2011 after her client failed to receive a proper reply having written "one email and two full letters of complaint" to Clegg's office earlier that year. Clegg was asked by the LBC radio presented Nick Ferrari why he did not reply to a written complaint he received in March 2011 about Hancock's behaviour.

Clegg told Ferrari: "My office never received one of the letters from the complainant's solicitors. We did receive a letter in February of this year. You'll be aware, I hope, because I think it's only fair to point this out, that the police have looked into this matter before, have dismissed it."
Mr Hancock also hit the headlines in 2011 when he had an affair with his aide, Katia Zatuliveter, who was accused of being a Russian spy. But the Special Immigration Appeals Commission said it had seen nothing to support the allegations against Miss Zatuliveter and she won an appeal against deportation.

Mr Hancock has been an MP since 1997. He had major heart surgery last year after suffering from angina.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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 General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links