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.
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.