Portsmouth South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 14585 (34.8%)
Labour: 8184 (19.5%)
Lib Dem: 9344 (22.3%)
Green: 3145 (7.5%)
UKIP: 5595 (13.4%)
TUSC: 235 (0.6%)
Independent: 716 (1.7%)
Others: 99 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 5241 (12.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Hampshire. Part of Portsmouth council area.

Main population centres: Portsmouth.

Profile: Portsmouth is a densely populated city on the south coast, technically situated on a island though the numerous causeways mean it is effectively a peninsula. It has a strong naval history as the home of the largest Royal Navy base, with defence the main local employer. Portsmouth South contains the main naval base, the docks and shipyards and many of the post war council estates like Buckland and Portsea. It also contains Portsmouth University, and is the more student heavy of the two Portsmouth seats.

Politics: Historically a Conservative seat, Portsmouth South was first won by Mike Hancock as the SDP candidate in the 1984 by-election following the death of Bonnor Pink. Hancock was not able to hold it at the subsequent general election, but continued to fight the seat, becoming leader of Portsmouth council in 1989, unsuccessfully standing again in 1992 and finally regaining the seat in 1997. He remained the MP until 2015 but ended his career in disgrace, suspended from the Liberal Democrats and standing against them as an Independent after allegations he had made inappropriate sexual approaches to a constituent. The Conservatives regained the seat.

Current MP
FLICK DRUMMOND (Conservative) Educated at Hull University. Former insurance broker. Former Winchester councillor. Contested Southampton Itchen 2005, Portsmouth South 2010. First elected as MP for Portsmouth South in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 13721 (33%)
Lab: 5640 (14%)
LDem: 18921 (46%)
UKIP: 876 (2%)
Oth: 2106 (5%)
MAJ: 5200 (13%)
Con: 13685 (34%)
Lab: 8714 (22%)
LDem: 17047 (42%)
UKIP: 928 (2%)
MAJ: 3362 (8%)
Con: 11396 (29%)
Lab: 9361 (24%)
LDem: 17490 (45%)
UKIP: 321 (1%)
Oth: 647 (2%)
MAJ: 6094 (16%)
Con: 16094 (31%)
Lab: 13086 (25%)
LDem: 20421 (40%)
Oth: 465 (1%)
MAJ: 4327 (8%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
FLICK DRUMMOND (Conservative) Educated at Hull University. Former insurance broker. Former Winchester councillor. Contested Southampton Itchen 2005, Portsmouth South 2010.
SUE CASTILLON (Labour) Educated at Burton on Trent Girls High School and Brunel University. Family group worker.
GERALD VERNON-JACKSON (Liberal Democrat) Born 1962, Hampshire. Portsmouth councillor since 2003, Leader of Portsmouth council since 2004.
STEVE HARRIS (UKIP) Born 1948, Aldershot. Former US Navy officer. Contested South East 2009 European elections.
IAN MCCULLOCH (Green) Delivery driver.
DON GERRARD (Justice and Anti Corruption) Born Southampton. Educated at Cambridge University. Retired solicitor. Contested East Hampshire 2010, Hampshire Police Commissioner election 2012.
MIKE HANCOCK (Independent) Born 1946, Portsmouth. Engineer. Portsmouth councillor since 1970, originally elected for the Labour party he defected to the SDP in 1981 and subsequently joined the Liberal Democrats. Leader of Portsmouth council 1989-1997. Hampshire county councillor 1973-1997.Contested Portsmouth South 1983 for the SDP. SDP MP for Portsmouth South 1984 by-election until 1987. Contested Portsmouth South again 1992 for the Liberal Democrats, Isle of Wight and Hampshire South 1994. MP for Portsmouth South 1997-2015. A colourful figure, Hancock had a four year affair with an aide who MI5 suspected of being a Russian spy and was arrested for indecent assault in 2010 over accusations that he had behaved inappropriately towards a constituent. The charges were subsequently dropped, but the constituent began civil action against Hancock in 2013. Hancock resigned the Liberal Democrat whip in June 2013 to contest the claim. Awarded the CBE in 1992.
SEAN HOYLE (TUSC) RMT organiser.
Comments - 462 Responses on “Portsmouth South”
  1. Did you always vote tory Hemmelig or did you go LD?

  2. I voted Tory in 1997, 2001 and 2010 and didn’t vote in 2005 as I lived overseas at the time.

    I voted for Ken Livingstone in 2008 and for a Lib Dem council candidate in 1995 when the only other candidate standing was Labour. Otherwise I’ve only ever voted Tory in all kind of elections.

  3. ‘I voted for Ken Livingstone in 2008’


    I know quite a few Tory-voting London Nationalists who voted for Ken in 2000 and 2004 – but not in 2008

    Livingstone actually did well in areas that aren’t traditionally Labour in those two elections

  4. So, we can now see what the report concluded:


    What happens now?

  5. He retires and Gerald Vernon Jackson stands…

  6. If there is any truth to the accusations though, he really should be urged to stand down by the local party – it isn’t enough to claim to be following process, his revealed actions are quite appalling.
    This isn’t a party political point, nor some petty moralising, his behaviour has been indefensible and a misuse of power. RAther a byelection which I could not see the Portsmouth Lib Dems losing than to continue with this man in any position of authority, which he has clearly misused.

  7. This whole sorry saga is a bigger scandal than Falkirk. The Lib Dem Council had an independent report that the author was happy to publish but sat on it. It only came out because of an FOI request by the victim. Makes Labour failing to publish the Falkirk report quite minor. But surprise surprise this isn’t all over the papers or the BBC News!

  8. Not only is the Lib Dem controlled council still trying to suppress the QC’s full report, they’re also spending public money as part of this act of minding Hancock’s backside. The whole Lib Dem machine in Portsmouth seems to be complicit in trying to somehow get Hancock off the hook, implicitly condoning his behaviour in order to further their own political interests.


  9. Comme Rennard, n’est-ce-pas?

  10. Looks more like Hancock has been put in a holding pattern by the tower, until Gerald Vernon-Jackson is ready to run…

  11. And here’s the verbatim but redacted version of the QC’s report.

    The final comment is “Note: For the avoidance of doubt, I consent to the full and unabridged publication of the Report.” Lib Dem controlled Portsmouth Council yesterday decided nonetheless to withhold it and will contest the report’s use in the civil action being brought against Hancock.

  12. BigD – Andrew Neil just mentioned on BBC2, that the report states the complainant’s evidence is credible.

  13. There is some misinformation floating about here:

    1) The police have investigated the complaint twice and decided not to proceed (which is important to the way it is viewed locally).

    2) The report did not take evidence from Mike Hancock and so should be seen more as a the case against rather than an overview.

    3) The report was considered by a review panel (2 LDs and 1 Con) which concluded unanimously that there was a case to answer. They also looked at, and accepted, external advice on the impact of the civil case which said they should not hold a hearing until after the case had gone to court.

    4) The city council has said a hearing will happen when the case is concluded. They have not, to my knowledge, suggested the report will not be published then. As this means the hearing and publication will now be much closer to the General Election I fail to see how it is in the Lib Dems interest.

    5) Last night the city council looked at immediate publication and was given strong advice not to publish. The previous Conservative leader voted against publication and at least two other Conservatives abstained or absented themselves so this is clearly not just on party lines.

    6) The report was supplied to the complainant although I believe that was due to data protection rather than because of an FoI.

  14. It is of course important that all strands of opinion in society are represented in parliament…

  15. I am interested by assumptions made on the impact on the Lib Dem vote by sex allegations against Mike Hancock.

    There is no evidence of damage. In fact rather the opposite: In 1994 Mike Hancock was mired in allegations but went on to regain Portsmouth South in 1997. In 2010 an opponent put out leaflets saying he was a paedophile and his majority went up (and the opponent was convicted of making false claims). In 2011 the affair with a Russian spy claim hit the headlines only for the Lib Dem percentage of the vote in the 2012 local elections in Portsmouth South to rise from the preceding May. Both Conservative and Labour percentages went down.

    It is clearly very difficult to predict the reaction of Portsmouth’s voters!

    In the 2012 city council elections the Lib Dems won 7 out of 7 seats with 46.7% of the vote. While Eastleigh showed this is not the same as GE votes it hardly shows a party in trouble.

  16. Pompey Observer – I very much doubt the electors of any UK constituency would re-elect a Candidate, after reading Guido’s order order front page, let alone the full report of a QC. Given this and his age, I expect he’ll merely step down as an MP and City Cllr at the next election.

  17. Been suspended from the party now.. he’s a goner… means there can be a selection of PPC…

  18. Please don’t be a by-election, please don’t be a by-election, please don’t be a by-election, please don’t be a by-election, please don’t be a by-election, please don’t be a by-election, please don’t be a by-election, please don’t be a by-election, please don’t be a by-election, please don’t be a by-election………

  19. George Pascoe QC has said that his report should be published in full. I’m pretty amazed that Portsmouth City Cllrs voted to surpress it before now.

  20. I have to admit, a by-election could be quite interesting.

  21. The ‘liberals’ seem quite keen on suppressing reports just now, so much for their keenness on freedom of information…

  22. Regarding this situation, Mike Hancock is likely just to ride it out and stand down at the next general election (he will be 69 when that election happens,anyway) rather than resign soon and cause a by-election which will be lost heavily by his former party. Remember, Mr. Hancock is the only non-Conservative MP to have represented Portsmouth South since 1918, when the seat was created.

  23. well he might, but surely he can’t win without the backing of the LDs, if they stand against him, which surely they would have to?

  24. Be interesting if he resigns his seat to cause a by-election out of spite. Though I expect him to await the outcome of the civil action. From memory, it’s listed in May – as is Nigel Evans’ criminal trial. A ‘perfect storm’ for UKIP?

  25. why would he resign his seat? He obviously loves being an MP even if he is ostensibly partiless..

    he is a seat-warmer MP at this point..

    His council seat though might be up for grabs.. he was re-elected there in 2010 so it must be renewed in May 2014 if not mistaken..

    Mike Hancock LD 3301 59.0%
    Terry Judkins C 1523 27.2%
    Nick Durrant Lab 775 13.8%

  26. If Fate and Fortune conspire to put a by-election in both Portsmouth South and Ribble Valley on the same day, the Internet might explode. Twitter would have to buy in new servers.

  27. and pigs might fly… why would they do that? and as neither is a vacancy at this point, that is truly a flight of fancy..

  28. A potential by-election here could result in a big UKIP surge, although like Eastleigh would probably be a Lib Dem hold.

    UKIP rising would obviously hit the Tories, and Labour wouldn’t be up to much seeing as how low a base they’re starting from in this side of Portsmouth (although they’ve declined pretty badly in the city itself).

  29. “Be interesting if he resigns his seat to cause a by-election out of spite. Though I expect him to await the outcome of the civil action. From memory, it’s listed in May – as is Nigel Evans’ criminal trial. A ‘perfect storm’ for UKIP?”

    What reason has he got to be spiteful? The Lib Dems have turned a blind eye to his behaviour time and time again. They are only reluctantly imposing the minimum possible punishment against him.

    And why would he volunteer to throw away a year and a half’s salary and expenses by causing a by-election? I doubt he’s a rich man, and he’s too old and too tainted with scandal to do much else. He will sit quietly on the backbenches with his tail between his legs and stand down at the general election.

  30. Just hearing that a 37-year-old man has been arrested for assaulting a journalist outside Hancock’s house. Not yet confirmed whether it was the MP’s son or aide. Filmed by ITV News and available online.

  31. The alleged victim succeeded at the High Court in forcing Portsmouth City Council to release the report to her. Portsmouth Lib Dems have now voted to keep Hancock in the Cabinet as an Independent. I understand this was contrary to officer’s advice.

  32. It just gets more extraordinary.

  33. If the LDs are to endanger this seat, where they are extremely dominant at local level, they’re certainly going the right way about it.

  34. The implications of something like this could very well cost a party support in an election. The last few weeks for the Lib Dems have been bruising if you consider this and the Rennard matter.

    Their relative dominance in Portsmouth locally might be put to the test in May. I think it’s a third of seats up for election.

  35. That is correct,Neil…unlike many unitary authorities, Portsmouth Council does not do ‘all out’ elections and still does them by thirds. There were no elections for Portsmouth Council in 2013 or for most other unitary authorities doing elections by thirds. (Bristol does it by halves now)

  36. The Guardian is reporting that he has been deselected and that the Lib Dems are seeking a new PPS

  37. Glad to hear it. LibDem Council Cabinet member Cllr Eleanor Scott resigned in protest of her colleagues’ decision to keep Hancock in the Cabinet as an Independent and claim a £17k pa allowance.

  38. Well, as he isn’t available for selection, he can’t be ‘deselected’ as such. He simply is no longer a LD MP.

  39. I understand they have brought the selection forward and as an Ind he will not be eligible to apply. I assume this was the deal when they allowed him to claim £17k pa til May.

  40. I am aware of the particulars of selection procedures, but it amounts to the same thing as a deselection.

  41. Oops – please do not post my email address – a mistake of tiredness.

  42. I am aware of the particulars of the selection procedures, but it amounts to the same thing,

  43. The allowance for the cabinet portfolio is £8k not £17k. The basic allowance for a councillor is £10k which he would of course get as an independent.

    The local news reports show the Lib Dem group split 10-10 on whether to allow Mike Hancock to remain on the cabinet with two abstentions and two absences (Cllr’s Eleanor Scott and Caroline Scott). So, ironically, if Eleanor Scott had turned up and voted, she would have achieved the result she is calling for.

    For Mike Hancock to be eligible to be selected as the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate he would presumably have to be re-admitted to party membership and the parliamentary whip which could only happen after the party enquiry and the council disciplinary procedure. The later, at least, is on hold until after the court case which will be at the earliest in May. In other words it is pretty clear he is being prevented from re-standing as a Lib Dem, which, as Catholic Left says, amounts to the same thing as de-selection.

  44. Khunanup usually has the best Pompey gossip (and is a councillor there I believe).. he has been keeping mum though on this issue..

  45. Pompey Observer – yes, I meant added together. Due to the vote he continues to receive £17,600 pa from Portsmouth until May. On top of his MP’s salary, of course.

  46. Why would an MP wish to continue as a councillor anyway. I can understand someone serving the rest of their office to avoid a by election or someone willing a by election in a seat that they were almost certain to lose. Being an MP and cabinet member is really odd since people who are both borough and county councillors in Hampshire are limited to being a cabinet member/ committee chairman on just one authority.

  47. Peter Henley of the BBC just tweeted that Hancock is standing down from Portsmouth cabinet…


  48. Let’s hope that the Lib Dems now have the good sense to put up a candidate against him in the local elections in Fratton, where he intends to defend as an independent.
    I really feel that the Lib Dems have handled this appallingly, both nationally and locally. It appears that Mr Hancock has made the decision to go himself for the sake of Lib Dem cohesion on the council. He should have been made to go – whatever the criminal status of the allegations against him, what is admitted (as I know I have stated before) is a clear misuse of a powerful position towards a clearly mentally disturbed and vulnerable constituent.
    I have no interest in the politcal party he belongs to, anybody in this position should be made to stand down, not because of unsubstatiated claims but because of the clear misuse of his position. It really shocks me.

  49. *Unsubstantiated

  50. I hear that it is being reported that the Lib Dems are not putting up a candidate against Mr Hancock in Fratton ward. If true, I find this deeply disappointing for all the reasons I have already given above.

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