With the deadline for Portsmouth’s local elections nominations coming up at 4pm tomorrow, scandal-plagued councillor and MP Mike Hancock has been forced to deny rumours doing the rounds in the city — and reported by Scrapbook earlier — that he is to announce his retirement from politics:
“Although I have been ill this year, I and my staff continue to work hard for the people of Portsmouth South and I would like to thank the many well wishers that have written, emailed and called.
“My priorities now, as ever, lie with trying to secure the best possible future for Portsmouth and I am regularly in touch with Government ministers, local businesses and Portsmouth City Council to ensure this happens. I am looking forward to the local elections next month in which I am standing again and very much hope the people of Fratton vote to re-elect me as their representative on PCC.”
While the allegations of sexual harassment against Hancock have led to his notional suspension from his party, Labour nevertheless have a mountain to climb if they are to unseat him on 22 May — especially given the ruling Lib Dems have refused to stand a candidate against him.
The last election in Fratton ward was two years ago — making things even more difficult to predict.