Councillor John Ferrett Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson Leader of the City Council Civic Offices Guildhall Square

Portsmouth PO1 2AL Phone:

Date: 18 September 2013

Dear Gerald, It is with deep regret that I feel compelled to write to you again about the allegations of misconduct surrounding Councillor Mike Hancock. You will recall that I wrote to you on 4 April 2013, along with Councillor Bosher, calling upon you to suspend Councillor Hancock from his Cabinet position, whilst serious allegations of misconduct in public office and sexual assault were being investigated. You responded on 23 April, stating that you were being asked to do ‘what you and your parties have always failed to do, which is to remove Councillor Mike Hancock from a position of authority within the city council.’ You then went on to explain why you felt that, despite the seriousness of the allegations, that you saw no reason to remove Councillor Hancock from the Cabinet. With hindsight I’m sure you will agree that it was unfortunate for you to juxtapose the very serious allegations of sexual assault against Councillor Hancock with the idea that they were being used as a political manoeuvre by the opposition parties. Moreover, I’m sure you would agree that it would be absurd to take such a standpoint given the decision by Councillor Hancock to resign the Liberal Democrat Party Whip, following an investigation into the allegations by the Chief Whip, Alistair Carmichael. Indeed, before Councillor Hancock resigned the whip your Leader, Nick Clegg, indicated that internal disciplinary measures were likely to result from Alistair Carmichael’s report. However, despite this realisation at a national level that it was not appropriate for Councillor Hancock to continue as a Liberal Democrat MP, you have chosen to take no action locally. In other words we have the bizarre situation where when he is acting as an MP, Mike Hancock is an Independent, yet when acting as a Councillor he is a leading member of the Liberal Democrat administration in Portsmouth. I would hope that following the submission of the report by Nigel Pascoe QC, into the allegations of misconduct by Councillor Hancock, you will now take the appropriate action and suspend him forthwith from the Cabinet. Cont/

Indeed, Nigel Pascoe QC has found that there is a case to answer on the following complaints: • • • • • Failed to treat people with respect Conduct himself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing his office or authority into disrepute Using his position as a member improperly to confer on or secure for himself or any other person, an advantage or disadvantage Doing something that may seriously prejudice their authority's ability to comply with any of its statutory duty under the equality law Bullying a person

Therefore, given the severity of the allegations and Nigel Pascoe’s findings I call upon you to suspend Councillor Hancock from the Cabinet with immediate effect, not least to reassure the people of Portsmouth that you take these allegations very seriously and do not just view them as some elaborate plot by the opposition parties. I can only reiterate what was said in my letter of 4 April, in that there can be little doubt that an employee of the Council, facing serious allegations such as those against Councillor Hancock, would be suspended while the matter is investigated and resolved. I would appreciate a full written reply to this letter as a matter of urgency. Yours sincerely

COUNCILLOR JOHN FERRETT Leader of Labour Group

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful