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.

Live updates

Rennard 'disappointed and angry' over 'damaging' claims

The former Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard has strongly refuted new claims from two female activists that he inappropriately touched and propositioned them when he was party chief executive.

In a statement issued to Channel 4 News, he said:

I absolutely deny any suggestion of improper touching, nor did I invite a woman to join me in my room.

I note that these alleged instances supposedly took place in public bars with other people present.

I am disappointed and angry that anonymous accusations from several years ago are once again being made public in this manner in a clear attempt to damage my reputation.

Let me reiterate that in 27 years working for the Liberal Democrat Party, not a single personal complaint was ever made against me to my knowledge.

It was revealed today that Lord Rennard said he stepped aside from the Lib Dem group in the House of Lords and has quit his position on the party's Federal Policy Committee, which helps prepare the election manifesto.

New sex impropriety claims against ex-Lib Dem chief

The then Lib Dem chief executive Lord Rennard pictured outside his party headquarters in 2006 Credit: Cathal McNaughton/PA Archive

Two more women have spoken to Channel 4 News, making allegations of sexual impropriety over a number of years against the former chief executive of the Liberal Democrats, Lord Rennard.

The women, who worked for the Lib Dems, claimed that the party’s then most powerful official abused his position by inappropriately touching and propositioning them.

They alleged that leading MPs and peers knew about the allegations but failed to act decisively.

Yesterday, the party launched a review into how they handled harassment claims after three women spoke to Channel 4 News about Lord Rennard's behaviour.

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."

Advertisement

Lib Dems 'didn't fully investigate harassment claims'

The then Lib Dem chief executive Lord Rennard pictured outside his party headquarters in 2006. Credit: Cathal McNaughton/PA Archive

Channel 4 News has spoken to a number of female members of staff and prospective candidates in the Liberal Democrat party who allege that former chief executive Lord Rennard inappropriately touched and propositioned them.

Bridget Harris, who was a special adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg until recently, alleged Lord Rennard touched her leg repeatedly at a conference in 2003.

She claimed: "As we carried on talking he was touching my legs and my knees and he did it two or three times."

Another women, politics lecturer Alison Smith, said she and a friend were invited back to Lord Rennard's house six years ago.

She alleges that at one point in the evening he sat between them and "started moving his hands down our backs and places where they had absolutely no business being."

Ms Smith claims she went to senior party figures but was told by Jo Swinson, the party's spokesperson for women and equality, that "no-one wants to make a formal complaint", despite her Ms Smith's willingness to do so.

In a statement from his solicitors, Lord Rennard denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of any allegations having been made against him.

The party says it has launched an "internal investigation into the specific allegations."

Rennard: 'No recollection of inappropriate behaviour'

Solicitors for the former Lib Dem chief executive, Lord Rennard, have released the following statement to Channel 4 News regarding allegations of sexual impropriety:

He has always strived to conduct himself responsibly and appropriately at all times and has no recollection of any inappropriate behaviour.

In addition, our client is unaware of any complaint about his conduct ever being made against him.

Lib Dems investigating 'serious allegations'

The Lib Dems have released the following statement in response to a Channel 4 News investigation alleging that the party's former chief executive Lord Rennard made inappropriate advances to female members of staff and that their complaints were not acted upon:

In view of the serious allegations put to us by Channel 4 and the concerns raised about how such issues have been handled in the past, Nick Clegg has asked Tim Farron, the party President, to establish an immediate review into all our procedures for dealing with these issues, including a thorough examination of how allegations made in the past have been handled.

This review group had its first meeting on Thursday 21st February.

An internal investigation into the specific allegations raised by Channel 4 has begun under the Party’s disciplinary procedures.

There are a number of questions that have been raised and our reviews will ensure we properly address all of them.

We will not tolerate harassment in our party and we urge anyone to contact the Chief Executive or use our confidential whistle-blower procedure if they have issues they wish to raise as a result of Channel 4’s report.

In a statement from his solicitors, Lord Rennard denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of any allegations having been made against him.

Lib Dems review their harassment claims procedures

The Liberal Democrats have launched an immediate review into its procedures for dealing with harassment allegations after a number of women made claims of sexual impropriety against the party's former chief executive.

The then Lib Dem chief executive Lord Rennard pictured outside his party headquarters in 2006. Credit: Cathal McNaughton/PA Archive

Speaking to Channel 4 News, the women allege that Lord Rennard inappropriately touched and propositioned them while they were working for the party.

They also suggest that senior party figures failed to take decisive action over their claims.

In a statement from his solicitors, Lord Rennard denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of any allegations having been made against him.

Advertisement

Load more updates Back to top