Hampshire & Isle of Wight

MP Mike Hancock quizzed in indecent assault case

Mike Hancock
Image caption Mike Hancock MP denies the claims

A Liberal Democrat MP has been arrested on suspicion of indecent assault following allegations of improper behaviour towards a female constituent.

On his website, Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said he went voluntarily to a police station on Tuesday and "co-operated fully" with inquiries.

The 64-year-old was released on police bail without charge until 10 January.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth City Council's Conservative Group has called for Mr Hancock to be suspended.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: "A man has been arrested on suspicion of indecent assault following a complaint from a woman in Portsmouth.

Family 'privacy'

"The 64-year-old man from the Fareham area was arrested at 10am on Tuesday.

"He was questioned by police following an allegation made on Friday 24 September and has been bailed until 10 January 2011."

Mr Hancock declined to comment on the details of the case involving a 36-year-old woman.

The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon has received a complaint about the MP.

Mr Hancock said: "I can confirm that I was questioned on Tuesday 12 October by officers of the Hampshire police in relation to allegations made against me by one individual.

"I attended the police station voluntarily, co-operated fully and answered all questions that were asked. Normal processes now have to be followed by the police, which I entirely understand."

He appealed for his family's privacy to be respected and said he intended to "carry on normally" with his work as an MP and Portsmouth city councillor.

Conservative Group leader councillor Steve Wemyss said: "We think it is proper that Councillor Hancock should step away while he is defending himself."

However, Lib Dem council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: "Mike is the best MP that Portsmouth has had for many years. I don't see why we should stop making sure local people have a 'First Class' MP. "

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