Mike Hancock: disgraceful behaviour from Portsmouth Lib Dems

by Stephen Tall on January 25, 2014

Lib Dem Voice reports the news that Portsmouth Lib Dems are continuing to offer their full support to their colleague, city MP and councillor Mike Hancock, who faces accusations of sexual assault.

A QC’s report commissioned by the Council to investigate the allegations – leaked online this week – found that “No-one in public life should allow themselves to act in such an irresponsible and damaging way.”

Mike Hancock continues to protest his innocence. He has every right to do so, of course. The case will be decided by a forthcoming civil court case being brought against the MP by his accuser.

But the decision by Portsmouth Lib Dems tonight that he should continue to serve in the Lib Dem-run council’s cabinet is a total and utter disgrace. Yes, due process matters. However, that does not mean turning a blind eye to credible allegations of sexual assault.

There were two choices available. Mike Hancock could have taken a leave of absence to contest the case against him. If he was unwilling to do that then his fellow Lib Dems should have had the courage to suspend him pending the conclusion of the case.

As I wrote on Wednesday:

It’s only human that people will want to believe the best of their friends. But at the moment we look more like we want to conceal our family secrets than achieve justice. For a supposedly liberal party that’s really not a good look.

Talk about bringing the party into disrepute – that’s just what Portsmouth Lib Dems have done today.


There may be a report by a QC and it may comment that there are ‘credible claims’, however we do live in a democracy and Hancock is entitled to defend himself against accusations in court so the old saying of innocent until proven guilty couldn’t be more true.

We, in the Liberal Denocrats, seem recently to be getting overly keen on deciding people are guilty and treating them as such (ie making them want to step down) before they have had an opportunity to defend themselves in the appropriate forum! Just because a report claims one thing, doesn’t make it true! That is for the courts and a judge or jury of peers to decide, not public opinion.

by Neil on January 25, 2014 at 9:17 am. Reply #

As a political party, we ARE judged by public opinion and so are those of us who are MPs, peers, councillors or candidates. As politicians, that’s how it should be.

I agree absolutely with Stephen. It IS a disgrace that Mike Hancock has been allowed to continue in his cabinet post while these allegations hang over him and he has been suspended from the party.

None of us would be happy if a teacher, policeman, priest , doctor or social worker was allowed to carry on working if similar allegations had been made. The same rule should apply to anyone who deals with the public or who has a position in the community.

by Alan on January 25, 2014 at 4:26 pm. Reply #

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