One of Lord Rennard's most vocal supporters has apologised for what he admitted were "crass" comments made during a radio interview this weekend.
Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour on Sunday, "This isn't Jimmy Savile, it is touching someone's leg six years ago, at a meeting, through clothing. This is the equivalent of, a few years ago, an Italian man pinching a woman's bottom."
Mr Davies later said in a statement: "My remarks about Italians pinching a woman's bottom were crass and I apologise.
"They were spur-of-the-moment words made during an as-live interview as I tried to explain that the accusations against Chris Rennard needed to be put into proportion."
Former Liberal leader Lord Steel has told ITV News the party is in an "awful mess" over the Rennard row and it needs "to get a grip" of it.
Lord Rennard has threatened to take legal action after being suspended for refusing to apologise over sexual harassment allegations.