Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Mike Hancock MP wants Portsmouth City Council probe delayed

Mike Hancock
Image caption Mike Hancock denies any wrongdoing

MP Mike Hancock has told Portsmouth City Council he does not want to take part in a probe into his conduct while he contests sexual assault allegations.

Mr Hancock, also a city councillor, is being sued in a High Court civil action by a female constituent who contacted him for help over a neighbour dispute.

The council said Mr Hancock does not want to take part in its investigation until proceedings have concluded.

Mr Hancock, 67, has said he "completely refuted" the allegations against him.

A city council sub-committee decided in March to refer for investigation a complaint made against Mr Hancock, who has been Portsmouth South MP since 1997.

Insufficient evidence

Michael Lawther, city council solicitor, said: "Councillor Hancock has indicated that he does not wish to participate in the council investigation until High Court proceedings taken against him by the complainant have been concluded.

"I am reporting back to the council sub-committee that authorised the investigation and asking them for further instructions.

"We will arrange a sub-committee meeting at the earliest possible opportunity, hopefully in a matter of weeks, so the matter can be discussed."

Mr Hancock was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault in 2010 in connection with the allegations. He was never charged as the Crown Prosecution Service said there was insufficient evidence.

Last month he resigned the party whip and said he was stepping down from the Liberal Democrats temporarily while he contested the allegations of sexual assault.

Mr Hancock was in the news in 2011 when he had an affair with his aide Katia Zatuliveter, who was accused of being a Russian spy.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission said it had seen nothing to support the allegations against Miss Zatuliveter and she won an appeal against deportation.

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