Letter to Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson
Letter to Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson calling for the suspension of Lib Dem Mike Hancock MP.
Councillor John Ferrett & Councillor Simon Bosher Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson Leader of the City Council Civic Offices Guildhall Square Portsmouth PO1 2AL Phone: 023 9282 2251 Date: 4 April 2013 Dear Gerald, It is with regret that we feel compelled to write to you about the allegations of misconduct surrounding Councillor Mike Hancock. As a cursory glance through any national paper reveals, a vulnerable adult with mental health issues says that Councillor Hancock sexually assaulted her after she approached him about a housing matter. This complaint clearly arises from his role as a councillor – a fact considered and accepted by the cross-party sub-committee charged with determining whether Councillor Hancock has a case to answer. You therefore have a duty to act. While we appreciate that his guilt or innocence has yet to be established, it is vital to take all steps possible to protect the reputation of Portsmouth City Council whilst this investigation is carried out and to ensure this case is handled in an equitable and transparent manner. The authority’s Safeguarding Adults Policy (2010) outlines the procedure to be adopted when dealing with allegations against council staff. While councillors are not employees, it would clearly be unfair to for allegations against us to be treated less seriously. The Safeguarding policy leaves the decision on whether to suspend an employee to his or her manager. There can be little doubt however that an employee facing serious allegations such as those against Councillor Hancock would be suspended while the matter is investigated and resolved. Portsmouth City Council has a duty to protect the public from harm. That is why we are calling on you to suspend Councillor Hancock from his position in the Cabinet. As a Cabinet member he could have access to enhanced and sensitive information concerning vulnerable adults which could be regarded by members of the public as inappropriate whilst an investigation of alleged abuse of trust breaching the Councillor Code of Conduct is being investigated. Should the investigating sub-committee of the Governance, Audit and Standards Committee determine that he did nothing improper, he should of course be reappointed and his reputation would be restored. /CONTD Councillor John Ferrett Paulsgrove Ward Leader of Labour Group Councillor Simon Bosher Drayton & Farlington Ward Leader of the Conservative Group 2 We would appreciate a full written reply to this letter as a matter of urgency. Yours sincerely Yours sincerely COUNCILLOR JOHN FERRETT Leader of Labour Group COUNCILLOR SIMON BOSHER Leader of Conservative Group