Clegg 'aware' of peer concerns

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he had been aware of "indirect and non-specific concerns" in 2008 about alleged inappropriate behaviour towards women by Liberal Democrats' former chief executive Lord Rennard.

Lib Dems urged to launch independent investigation

Labour MP Bridget Phillipson urged the Lib Dems to launch an independent investigation into the allegations.

This series of allegations are too serious to allow the Liberal Democrats to investigate themselves.

The Liberal Democrats must urgently commission an independent investigation of their party. It simply will not do for them to attempt to brush off these serious allegations by treating them as an internal party matter.

Nick Clegg and other senior Liberal Democrat MPs and officials must come clean about what they knew and what action was taken about these serious allegations of sexual harassment.

Getting to the truth and learning lessons must be the priority.

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Jeremy Browne 'surprised' by peer impropriety claims

The Liberal Democrat Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne has said he was surprised by the allegations of sexual impropriety against Lord Rennard broadcast by Channel 4 News.

Speaking on Sky's Sunday Live with Murnaghan, he said:

I was surprised....I've known Lord Rennard for 20 years or so and I haven't heard these allegations before.

We're going to have two types of investigation as a party, one to look at the specific allegations against Lord Rennard but a second to look at the overall procedures that we have as a party if people make complaints of this sort.

We're very upfront about it. The Liberal Democrats stand for openness and equality and we want to make sure that we as a party represent the best values of the party and if there's any reason to believe that we've fallen short of those standards we want to rectify that.

Lord Rennard has strongly denied the allegations.

Vince Cable denies knowledge of Lord Rennard claims

The Business Secretary Vince Cable has denied that he or Nick Clegg knew about strongly-denied allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women by a senior Liberal Democrat.

Mr Cable said the claims about the party's former chief executive Lord Rennard were being taken "very seriously" and would be fully investigated.

But pressed on whether he was aware of complaints against the peer before a Channel 4 News report on Thursday, he replied: "Absolutely not."

Vince Cable denied knowledge if the claims before Channel 4's report.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "Nick Clegg has also said he was not aware of these allegations until they appeared on TV last week. But they are serious, and we take them very seriously.

"It is obviously wrong if there are women there who have made complaints and felt they haven't been dealt with properly."

Lord Rennard - a key party strategist and adviser to a succession of Lib Dem leaders before standing down due to ill health in 2009 - has said he "strongly disputes" the allegations.

Also read: Rennard 'disappointed and angry' over 'damaging' claims

Jo Swinson: 'I took action' over Lord Rennard claims

Jo Swinson, Minister for Women and Equalities, has said that she was aware of misconduct allegations against Lord Rennard after women previously confided in her.

In a statement,she said: "I took action and ensured that others took action. I told the women who had confided in me what I had done to try to put a stop to any inappropriate behaviour, and encouraged them to let me know if they became aware of any further incidents."

Jo Swinson,
Jo Swinson, Nick Clegg's former Parliamentary aide, is now Women and Equalities Minister Credit: Press Assocation

Ms Swinson also said she welcomed the review into how the party responded to this situation so that "lessons can be learned".

"It is important that a proper process is followed and I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the review", she added.

Lib Dems to investigate Lord Rennard allegations

The Lib Dems have launched an internal investigation into the "specific allegations" against Lord Rennard under the party's disciplinary procedures.

Party president Tim Farron is also conducting a review into the way the party dealt with such allegations.

Yesterday, current Lib Dem chief executive Tim Gordon admitted it appeared the party "did not fully live up to our political ideals" in dealing with complaints about the peer.

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Lib Dems deny Nick Clegg knew of Lord Rennard claims

The Liberal Democrats have denied claims that Nick Clegg knew of allegations of misconduct against the party's former chief executive, Lord Rennard.

On Thursday, Channel 4 News reported that two women had claimed Lord Rennard touched them inappropriately.

The then Lib Dem chief executive Lord Rennard pictured outside his party headquarters in 2006
Lord Rennard has denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of any allegations having been made against him. Credit: Cathal McNaughton/PA Archive

Read Lord Rennard's statement

Reports in some of today's newspapers suggest the Deputy Prime Minister was made aware of claims of inappropriate behaviour towards women, four years ago.

Nick Clegg
The Lib Dems have launched an internal investigation into the "specific allegations" against Lord Rennard Credit: Press Assocation

A Lib Dem spokesman said: "Nick Clegg only knew of these allegations when we were contacted by Channel 4 News".

Read more: Lib Dems investigating 'serious allegations'

Lib Dem 'regret' over handling of Rennard allegations

The Liberal Democrats have expressed "regret" over the handling of strongly-denied allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women by a senior party figure.

Chief executive Tim Gordon said it appeared the party "did not fully live up to our political ideals" in dealing with complaints about predecessor Lord Rennard.

Posting on the Lib Dem Voice website this evening, Mr Gordon said many members would have seen media reports about the allegations and suggestions that the party failed to deal with them adequately.

It appears that we did not fully live up to our political ideals, and I regret that.

I want to assure you that the Party, and I as Chief Executive, are taking these questions very seriously - both as regards the specific allegations that were made, but also about the Party's procedures for handling complaints of this sort.

Senior Lib Dems 'laughed' at woman's Rennard claims

Senior members of the Liberal Democrats allegedly "openly laughed" at a female party activist when she told them former chief executive, Lord Rennard, propositioned her during a party dinner.

The woman told Channel 4 News she was forced to run back to her room on the night of the dinner as the then most powerful party official followed her after she left the table.

She said party officials thought it was "hilarious" when she told them about the allegations the following morning:

Everyone else who was sat at that table, which included senior members of the party, did nothing, they were either giggling or smirking.

And the next day when I told them what had happened as I left the room, they openely laughed and thought it was hilarious.

The peer has strongly denied the fresh claims, saying: "I absolutely deny any suggestion of improper touching, nor did I invite a woman to join me in my room."

Lib Dem president takes allegations 'very seriously'

The Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron has said the sexual impropriety accusations against the party's former chief executive Lord Rennard are being taken "dead seriously" without "no fear or favour".

He told Channel 4 News that the party has "acted very swiftly" to meet with a review group and to look into the accusations.

The peer has strongly denied the fresh claims, saying: "I absolutely deny any suggestion of improper touching, nor did I invite a woman to join me in my room."

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