Friday, February 8, 2013

Lib Dem Scandal: The Week From Hell for the Lib Dems

If losing Chris Huhne (one of the better political operators in the party)  over the self inflicted speeding points scandal and almost endless stream of personal revelations borne from it wasn't bad enough for the Liberal Democrats, one of their veteran MP's being accused of sexual assault has to be a cherry on top of a very nasty cake Lib Dems have forced to digest.

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, according to the guardian, was accused of fondling a constituent and was reported to have "exposing himself and kissed her on many occasions without consent". It is a sad irony that we always accuse our representatives for not being responsive the needs of their constituents and when they do, it is always for more than we bargained for, certainly in the case of the victim who sought help dealing with "noisy Neighbours" and instead got, allegedly, a  "inappropriate relationship" that lasted nearly a year.

The story only gets worse as the woman involved has "a borderline personality disorder and is registered as a vulnerable adult". the power disparity between the MP and his constituent is further brought to light due to her claim of abuse being  hampered by the police and the parliamentary authorities. 

According the guardian, the woman's legal counsel investigation were been hampered by local authorities as "the woman complained to the police in 2010 but the inquiry was dropped". A message was clearly sent the woman  when the parliamentary commissioner for standards, incredibly, "told the woman's legal team in October 2011 that he  did not have the remit to examine Hancock's behaviour" and the party chose not to investigate as in light of the police withdrawing their interest in the case and "parliamentary authorities" avoiding responsibility, they had "no case to answer".

The local council also do not come out of this case smelling of roses as they, incredibly let Hancock shut down council hearing that "was due to hear the woman complaint last Friday but the meeting was suspended the day before because Hancock presented a certificate of illness".

The plot thickens further due the fact that Hancock has previous.  A former employee of Hancock claimed that she "had a four year affair with him" and Hancock, in court revealed that "he had a  "close and affectionate relationship with a 17-year-old girl who had worked in his office, but insisted it has not gone beyond kissing and cuddling". While it is never wise to come to conclusions about people you don't know let alone people you hear about in news reports, it isn't much of a stretch to say that a man who has previous in stepping out of his marriage on two separate occasions is clearly not beyond a third.      

In sum it has been hell for the Liberal Democrats but a hell inflicted by senior members in their party, one with a clear ambition to be party leader (which are now in ruins) and another with a well documented weakness for the opposite sex. 

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