Lib Dem MP denies 'seduction' claim
A senior Liberal Democrat MP has denied allegations he tried to seduce a vulnerable female constituent.
A spokesman for Mike Hancock, MP for Portsmouth South, said all he did was "offer help and support" to the 36-year-old woman - who is reported to have mental health problems.
Mr Hancock is being investigated by police after it was reported he took the single mother to dinner, bought her gifts, including perfume, clothes and a teddy bear, and sent her intimate text messages.
The Sunday Times said the married politician met the woman when she approached him with problems about noisy neighbours and inadequacies in her healthcare.
In a number of letters Mr Hancock wrote on behalf of his constituent, her mental health problems were freely acknowledged, the newspaper added.
However, a spokesman for Mr Hancock said: "The Sunday Times story is exaggerated and taken completely out of context. Mike Hancock denies any allegations of any inappropriate behaviour and in no circumstances did any take place.
"All Mike Hancock did was offer help and support to this woman. Mike Hancock has not been contacted by Hampshire Police or been informed of any formal allegations or investigation. He will of course cooperate with the police if they ever contact him."
Mr Hancock told the newspaper "under no circumstances" had any sexual activity taken place between them but he had taken her out to dinner and bought her gifts "to cheer her up".
Detectives were said to be alerted by the unnamed woman's family support worker. A Hampshire Police spokeswoman confirmed an investigation had been launched by officers after the complaint was received.
She said today: "Information regarding the welfare of a female from the Portsmouth area was passed to us by a third party on August 5 this year. No offences were disclosed at the time but the information remained on file. On Friday September 24 we received contact from a female in relation to the matter and inquiries are now in hand."