Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Ex-council leader runs for Mike Hancock's Portsmouth seat

Gerald Vernon-Jackson Image copyright Portsmouth City Council
Image caption Gerald Vernon-Jackson resigned as the leader of Portsmouth City Council following May's elections

Former Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson has been chosen to run for Portsmouth South at next year's General Election.

The Liberal Democrat was selected on Thursday night and could end up running against the current MP Mike Hancock, who remains suspended from the party.

Mr Vernon-Jackson led the council for a decade but resigned after his party lost control of the authority in May.

He remains the Lib Dem group leader on the council.

Mr Vernon-Jackson worked for many years alongside Mr Hancock, who is a former councillor.

In June, Mr Hancock apologised for conducting an inappropriate friendship with a vulnerable female constituent.

'Tough fight'

Mr Hancock, who has been an MP in the city since 1984, was arrested in 2010 after a complaint was made about his behaviour towards a vulnerable constituent who had a history of mental health problems.

Hampshire Constabulary decided not to press charges following an investigation.

Mr Hancock resigned from the cabinet of Portsmouth City Council in February and lost his Fratton seat on the council in the elections in May.

The Lib Dems also lost control of the council in the local elections in May.

Mr Vernon-Jackson said: "Since 1918 when the seat was first created at the end the First World War, only two parties have ever won in Portsmouth South, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems and it's going to be a tough fight between myself and the Conservatives."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mike Hancock apologised for an "inappropriate" friendship with a constituent

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