30,000 reasons why Mike Hancock may not yet have made up his mind about re-standing as an MP

by Stephen Tall on January 21, 2015

A tweet from BBC reporter Giles Dilnot caught my eye yesterday:

Mike Hancock was (re-)elected as Lib Dem MP for Portsmouth South in 2010. He was (eventually) suspended from the party last year, and has since admitted to “inappropriate and unprofessional friendship” with a constituent. He stood as an independent in last May’s local elections and was heavily defeated.

Time to call it a day, then? Not necessarily, according to the Portsmouth News:

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock has said he remains undecided on whether he will stand in May’s General Election. As the 100-day countdown to the election approaches, the 68-year-old told The News he had not made a decision on whether to stand for the constituency as an independent. He revealed last September to The News that he was still making up his mind on whether to contest the seat he has held since 1997. Four months on he is still not sure of his plan. He told The News: ‘I have not made up my mind.’ Mr Hancock said he would be making his announcement ‘in the near future’, but would not comment on the factors that will clinch the decision for him.

One factor might be the Parliamentary Resettlement Grant. This used to be available to MPs when they retired or were defeated to help them transition from SW1 to civvy street. However, for this Parliament it’s available only to defeated MPs.

This means that, if Mike Hancock were to stand and lose, he could claim one month’s salary for every year he’s worked up to a maximum of six months, or almost £33,000 — the first £30,000 of which are tax-free. If he retires gracefully, though, he gets nothing. Draw your own conclusions…