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Mike Hancock Quits Council Job Amid Sex Claims
The Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock has resigned from his cabinet position on the local council amid sex harassment claims.
Mr Hancock had resigned the Liberal Democrat whip in the House of Commons in the summer over allegations he had harassed a troubled constituent although until last month he remained a councillor for the party.
He has now resigned his position on the cabinet of Portsmouth City Council and will contest the May local council elections as an independent in an area in which he continues to remain a popular politician.
Mr Hancock, who has always denied the accusations, was suspended by the Liberal Democrats last month after a barrister's report commissioned by the council into the claims became public.
In it, Nigel Pascoe QC said the complainant had provided "compelling prima facie evidence of serious and unwelcome sexual behaviour" carried out towards her by Mr Hancock dating back to 2009.
Mr Pascoe described the woman as "a straightforward and vulnerable person, angry and hurt by what she said had happened to her".
He also acknowledged Mr Hancock, who was exposed in 2011 for having an affair with a Russian aide 40 years his junior, was not motivated "solely by sexual desire" and had sought to help her "wholly properly" as a local councillor.
The Liberal Democrats, already embroiled in a sex scandal over claims made by women activists against the party's former chief executive Lord Rennard, said they had not seen the report until January.
However, it later emerged the woman had written to Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg about her concerns in 2011 and her lawyer had raised them with Liberal Democrat central office only to be told early in 2012 they did not merit investigation.
His resignation from the council comes ahead of a Monday meeting by the Liberal Democrat group on the authority which was to vote on whether he should keep his position.
Mr Hancock is facing a civil case over the claims.
A statement on his website last month said: "These matters have twice been looked at by the police, first in 2010, and in conjunction with the CPS, they have found that there is no case for Mr Hancock to answer and have taken no further action."
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