TBG can today reveal that the legal bill set to be footed by Portsmouth taxpayers as a result of the Mike Hancock debacle has today hit a whopping £31,736. The money has been paid out in legal fees by the council since it began its investigation into Hancock last year.
- Over half of the money has been paid to Nigel Pascoe QC so as to investigate the allegations on the council’s behalf.
- Advice in relation to possible adjournment of proceedings in January 2013 cost £1,000.
- The Cost of bringing Ian Wise QC from London to Portsmouth to meet sub-committee and give members advice in May 2013 was £4,726.
- More legal advice including a conference with Elizabeth Lang QC to advise the sub-committee on what action it should take in September cost £2,600.
- A Fee in respect of an investigation carried out by Nigel Pascoe QC into the complaint, including the cost of report he produced in September 2013 cost £18,800.
- Further legal advice from Ms Lang QC in relation to whether the sub-committee should put off deciding whether Cllr Hancock broke the council’s code of conduct cost another £4,610.
Committee Chairman and Tory Group Leader Donna Jones told TBG - "This is very disappointing and the external legal costs would have been £5,000 to £6,000 if Mike Hancock had taken part in the investigation."
"If he had met with Mr Pascoe then his colleagues wouldn’t have been asking for second and third opinions."
Labour PPC John Ferrett said - "It’s an absolute disgrace given the things we need in this city and what we are cutting. I reiterate what I’ve written about to Gerald Vernon Jackson on two occasions, and that is Mike Hancock should be suspended until this is sorted."
"It could be over a lot sooner were the report to be published and were Mike to propose that the committee bring the process forward."