Statement by Nigel Pascoe QC on leaked report

I have now seen for the first time the redacted version of my report, Public and Private Conduct, concerning Mr Michael Hancock MP. Whatever the legal reasons for redaction, which was not for me to decide, the overall effect is unsatisfactory in a number of ways. First, it does not carry the full reasoning for my conclusions and specifically my comments on a number of pieces of evidence.

Second, it does not set out the position of Mr Hancock as I perceived it to be, including a number of assumptions and comments that I set out clearly in his favour. Third, it edits the chronology of events in some respects that in my view, are unfortunate.  Last, some of my conclusions have been omitted, although I can understand why that might have been done at this moment in time. I should add that there are other redactions of a minor character which I also understand.

It is for Portsmouth City Council and not for me to decide on its ultimate full publication and I have no intention of releasing myself redacted portions.  But I am pleased that the partial release of the report has brought further information to the complainant, for whom I have expressed publicly my concern.

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. In the meantime, I hope that some responsible journalists will draw attention to one of my conclusions which has been made public in the redacted version, namely my admiration for the way that she addressed her mental health issues in front of me.

Nigel Pascoe QC