- 16 updates
Senior Liberal Democrats have denied that they or Nick Clegg knew about strongly-denied allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women by Lord Rennard.
Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports:
Labour MP Bridget Phillipson urged the Lib Dems to launch an independent investigation into the allegations.
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:
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Lib Dem spokesman said: "Nick Clegg only knew of these allegations when we were contacted by Channel 4 News".
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.
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:
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.