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19 September 2014, 07:35
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock has resigned his membership of the Liberal Democrats, the party has confirmed.
The move came after the veteran MP, who had already been suspended by the party, was forced publicly to apologise to a vulnerable woman constituent for making improper sexual advances.
In June Mr Hancock gave an ``unreserved'' apology at London's High Court over an ''inappropriate and unprofessional friendship'' with a single mother known as Annie, who had sought his assistance as her MP and local councillor.
Solicitors for the woman said the apology was part of a ''confidential settlement'' in which the ''vulnerable woman'', who suffers from mental health problems, brought a claim for damages against him.
A Lib Dem spokesman said Mr Hancock had quit before an internal party disciplinary hearing.
Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg had previously called on Mr Hancock to resign his membership and said he had ``no future'' in the party.
A Lib Dem spokesman said: ``I can confirm he has resigned from the party.
``We have received a letter confirming his resignation. Obviously, there was due to be a disciplinary hearing imminently, so before that has happened he has resigned.''
Donna Jones, the Conservative leader of Portsmouth City Council, called for Mr Hancock, who failed to hold his seat as a councillor in this year's local elections, to also stand down from his seat in Parliament.
``Yet again this is another example of Mike Hancock jumping literally seconds before he is pushed.
``Nick Clegg had suspended him from the Liberal Democrat Party and removed the whip back in 2013 with an agreement there would be a review of his membership and before that happened, he has resigned from the party, so I am not surprised at all.
``Mike has had a long career in Parliament, in excess of 40 years, it's very sad his parliamentary career has ended the way it has but it was only a matter of time that his past has caught up with him in the form of this alleged sexual assault by a woman he came in contact with through Portsmouth City Council and it is a very sad indictment of his parliamentary career and now it's time for him to stand down.''