Lib Dems suspend MP over inappropriate sexual advances claims Mike Hancock is suspended from party amid demands he should be treated in same way as Lord Rennard

Mike Hancock stood down from the party whip after the alleged victim launched legal action, but has continued as a Lib Dem councillor. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA
Mike Hancock stood down from the party whip after the alleged victim launched legal action, but has continued as a Lib Dem councillor. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA
Mike Hancock, the MP facing claims that he made inappropriate sexual advances to a vulnerable constituent, has had his membership of the Liberal Democrats suspended amid demands that he should be treated in the same way as the party's former chief executive Lord Rennard.

The suspension follows the Guardian disclosure last month of a damning report by the independent QC Nigel Pascoe, which found that there was prima facie evidence that Hancock had made "unwelcome sexual approaches" to a woman in his constituency.

The independent MP for Portsmouth South stood down from the parliamentary whip in June after the alleged victim launched legal action. But since then he has been allowed to continue as a Lib Dem councillor in the city and to campaign for the party locally.

Hancock is being sued after being accused of making repeated physical sexual advances towards the woman – a young mother who had asked for help with noisy neighbours – despite being made aware that she suffered a mental-health disorder and had been sexually abused as a child. He has denied the allegations and insists he will vigorously defend himself in court.

The alleged victim's solicitor wrote to the Lib Dems' chief executive on Wednesday morning demanding that the party suspend Hancock. On Monday, Rennard had the party's whip taken away for refusing to apologise to female activists who claim he touched them inappropriately.

On Wednesday night, a Lib Dem spokesman said that after the party had finally seen a copy of the Pascoe report, commissioned by Portsmouth council, Hancock had been suspended from the party and had the council whip withdrawn.

"Mike Hancock resigned as a Liberal Democrat MP last year in order to contest allegations of sexual impropriety in a high court civil action. Given Nigel Pascoe QC's conclusions in his report, we have immediately suspended Mike Hancock's membership of the party," the spokesman said.

Harriet Wistrich, the solicitor for the alleged victim, had earlier written to the Lib Dems' chief executive, Tim Gordon, demanding that Hancock be treated in the same way as Rennard.

"It would appear that while Mr Hancock resigned the parliamentary whip, he continues to remain a very active party member and councillor elected to represent the Lib Dem party.

"In the light of the findings of Mr Pascoe QC [and] the fact that Portsmouth city council has decided to refer the matter to a disciplinary hearing and the publicity generated, we ask you to consider the sanctions as set out in rule 7 of the membership rules," she wrote.

Last year, Alistair Carmichael, the then chief whip of the parliamentary party, investigated the alleged victim's complaint against Hancock and instigated formal disciplinary proceedings against him, which have been suspended pending the civil case.

A complaint was also made to Portsmouth city council, where Hancock sits as a Lib Dem councillor. After numerous delays, Pascoe's independent investigation was commissioned by the council.

Pascoe, a leading barrister in sexual crime cases, interviewed Hancock's accuser at length at the request of Portsmouth city council and concluded in August that there was evidence of sexual advances made by Hancock and that the MP was fully aware of his alleged victim's mental health problems.

Pascoe also examined dozens of texts sent by Hancock to his accuser over a nine-month period from October 2009. Some messages said: "Please give me a chance you never know my princess xxx", "… you are special and sexy to me xxx" and "just got here and in bed alone my love xxx".

In the key passage in the 49-page report, Pascoe, a former president of the mental health review tribunals, said: "I consider that the prima facie evidence of his unwelcome sexual approaches remains unquestionably a very serious matter in the light of the position which he holds and his knowledge from the beginning of the vulnerability of [the alleged victim]."

The lawyer concluded: "No one in public life should allow themselves to act in such an irresponsible and damaging way."

After the report concluded in August, police re-examined the claims but dropped their inquiries in November, telling the alleged victim that they required more evidence.

A council meeting on Tuesday decided not to publish the report in full, prompting shouts of "shame" from the public gallery. The Guido Fawkes website published the report in full on Wednesday, including details that were omitted from the Guardian's report in December at the request of the alleged victim.

It was announced on Monday that Rennard had been suspended from the party, pending an inquiry into claims he brought it into disrepute by refusing to apologise to four women who alleged he sexually harassed them. Hancock and Rennard deny the allegations against them.

Hancock called the Pascoe report "one-sided" and said he could not comment further because of ongoing legal proceedings.

His spokesman said: "These matters have twice been looked at by the police, first in 2010, and in conjunction with the CPS they have found that there is no case for Mr Hancock to answer and have taken no further action.

"Unfortunately due to the ongoing civil case, Mike received legal advice that he should not give evidence to the council's investigator.

"He looks forward to giving his evidence when the sub-committee meets after the conclusion of the civil case. Mike Hancock asked to meet with the council's investigator to explain this and this was denied him despite the city council's solicitor asking the investigator to meet Mr Hancock.

"He therefore believes the report, which he has not seen, is likely to be one-sided."

Please add to Hancock

Pascoe called on Wednesday night for his report to be published in full, describing the unredacted version quoted at length in the Guardian in December and released on the web on Wednesday as being "unsatisfactory in a number of ways".

"The constituent was entitled to know the views I had formed of her evidence, even though the full view has not yet been made public. That is the reason why, in my view, it would be better for my full report to be published sooner rather than later."

He also expressed his admiration for the way in which the alleged victim had faced her mental health problems.

Hancock's alleged victim said on Wednesday night that she would like to see the full version of the report, but questioned why it had taken so long for Nick Clegg to take action. "I feel disappointed by the lack of effort given by all the authorities that have been involved in my case, she said

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