Hat-tip to the Mirror’s Martin Belam here. At 11.41pm on Thursday night – with the Scottish referendum count in full swing, and with the broadcasters talking about nothing else, and all the newspapers’ main editions long since gone to bed – the Liberal Democrats have put a story out (I originally wrote that it was a “press release”, but that’s an independent site: still, the party has let it be known somehow). Mike Hancock, the Lib Dem MP who apologised for “inappropriate” and “degrading” behaviour after allegations that he sexually harassed a constituent, has quit the party.
He was already being replaced as the candidate for Portsmouth South, and wouldn’t have run in 2015. In a sense it’s not a very big story. But slipping it out in the middle of the biggest political story of the year (good day to bury bad news, they presumably thought, although actually maybe it isn’t) is extraordinarily shifty and dishonest. I hope this gets picked up, and the Lib Dems get the kicking they deserve for it, because it’s a shoddy piece of political operating. Grim, especially given all the rest of the Lib Dems’ problems with senior male politicians and their behaviour towards women.