Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth MP Mike Hancock asked to repay investigation costs

Mike Hancock MP Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Hancock lost his seat on Portsmouth City Council in May but remains an MP

MP Mike Hancock, who resigned from the Liberal Democrats last month, is to be asked to repay the costs of a council investigation into his conduct.

In June the Portsmouth South MP apologised for conducting an "inappropriate friendship" with a vulnerable female constituent.

On Tuesday city councillors voted to co-sign a letter to the former councillor asking him to repay the £38,236 spent on its investigation.

Mr Hancock has said he will not repay.

He said the issue was being used to "score political points".

'A moral thing'

Last month Mr Hancock resigned from the Liberal Democrats after he had the whip removed but remains an MP.

He was arrested in 2010 after a complaint was made about his behaviour towards a constituent who had a history of mental health problems, but no charges were brought.

Mr Hancock was also a member of Portsmouth City Council until May, when he lost his Fratton seat. He had resigned from the council's cabinet in February.

Council leader Donna Jones said asking Mr Hancock to repay the costs of its investigation was "a moral thing".

She said: "It's us playing on any scruples he may have left to say 'think about what you've done to the citizens of this city, think about the impact, the cost, the reputational damage, and in particular what you've done to this young woman'."

A civil action against Mr Hancock was dropped earlier this year, with the complainant agreeing to a confidential settlement and the MP issuing an apology over an "inappropriate and unprofessional friendship".

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