Mike Hancock, the sleazy former Liberal Democrat MP who has admitted using his position to take sexual advantage of a mentally ill constituent may be in line for a huge pay off courtesy of the British taxpayer.
The Portsmouth South MP is almost certain to lose his seat at the next election but if he does he’ll be paid £33,000 up front, and £54,000 in other expenses such as travel.
Yesterday Hancock admitted leaving a constituent “degraded”, “uncomfortable” and “discriminated against”. Initially the woman known as “Annie” had visited her MP to complain about noisy neighbours, but Hancock used her vulnerability to extract sexual favours from her and mounted a campaign of sexual harassment against her.
Throughout the entire case Hancock had denied any wrongdoing until yesterday when he finally admitted he had behaved badly, it follows a five year campaign for justice by Annie. His “unreserved” apology to Annie was issued in the High Court.
Despite his behaviour rules issued by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) say that MPs have the right to one month’s pay for every year they were an MP, up to a maximum of six months. As Hancock was elected in 1997 he would be entitled to the full £33,530.
The claim can be made by MPs who re-stand for their seat but are not elected to it, they can also claim up to £53,950 in expenses. Hancock would be entitled to the pay out even if the Liberal Democrats refuse to select him for his seat and he ran as an independent. In order to run all as an independent all he would need is ten local nominators and a £500 deposit, which he would lose if he got under 5 percent of the vote.
Mr Hancock has never been averse to claiming off the taxpayer and for many years he sat as both an MP and a local councillor, entitling him to claim the salaries for both positions. He also used his parliamentary expenses to pay an attractive young Russian national, Katia Zatuliveter to run his All Party Group on Russia.
Security services identified Zatuliveter as having links to the Russian Embassy. As a result she was arrested and deported.
His apology yesterday read: “In October 2009 you first came to me as a constituent to seek my assistance as your MP and councillor.
“Subsequently and over several months I came to your home on several occasions, sometimes unannounced and conducted a friendship that was inappropriate and unprofessional.
“I understand that you felt degraded. I did not treat you with sufficient respect.
“I made you feel deeply uncomfortable and discriminated against and I crossed the line.
“As a political representative there is a significant power differential with any constituent seeking help and particularly with you given your vulnerabiltiy of which I was aware.
“You had a right to trust me. Everyone should feel safe and should be able to have confidence in their political representatives and I am sorry that I made you feel otherwise.
“I have learnt from my mistakes and pledge not to act in the same way again.”
An IPSA spokesman said: “An MP would only be eligible to receive a resettlement payment if he or she was a candidate for re-election for the same seat, but not re-elected. If an MP stood down between elections, they would not be entitled to any resettlement payment. After May 2015, MPs will not receive such generous resettlement payments. Instead, those who stand and are defeated will receive double statutory redundancy entitlement.
“The Winding-Up budget is not for personal use. Rather it is for the cost of completing the outstanding Parliamentary functions of a person who ceases to be an MP.”
He is currently sitting as an independent MP after the Liberal Democrats suspended the party whip, it is unclear whether he will be admitted to the party. There have been calls for him to resign as an MP, which he has resisted, suggesting that he may want to re-stand for his seat.