Nick Clegg conceded today that his party made "very serious mistakes" in failing to deal properly with complaints of sexual harassment against its then chief executive Lord Rennard.
The Sheffield Hallam MP and Deputy Prime Minister continued to insist that he was personally unaware of any specific allegations by women in the party until they were broadcast by Channel 4 last week.
But he suggested that the issue was "in the background" when the peer - who strenuously denies the alleged inappropriate behaviour - retired from his senior role on grounds of ill-health.
"There were some very serious mistakes and the women were not listened to and were let down," Mr Clegg said as he was grilled on the controversy during his weekly phone-in on LBC 97.3 radio.
More top news
The latest weather forecast with Manali Lukha.
Friday morning weather update with Manali Lukha
A company owned by Virgin and Stagecoach will operate trains on the East Coast line from next March - but what does it mean for customers?