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Rules tightened since Rennard claims say Welsh Lib Dems

The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats says the party in Wales has tightened up its rules in the wake of the Lord Rennard row. She said the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called her on Monday evening to update her on the situation and the latest investigation into allegations against the peer.

Kirsty Williams said that in a federal party, the English Lib Dems had the right to suspend and investigate Lord Rennard. But she said the party's democratic structures, which she considers a strength because they give members a significant level of say, had also proven to be a weakness.

The structures and rules and regulations and constitutions in the party in England has led us to a situation which I think is regrettable and doesn't serve either party - those that have made complaints and the person who's been complained of - hasn't served them particularly well.

– Kirsty Williams AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader

She said she's not responsible for the structures of the English party but has moved to introduce changes to the way the Welsh party is set up since the allegations first came to light.

There have been a number of things that the Welsh party has already moved to change and we will again have to reflect on our party's rules and regulations in the light of issues that have now arisen in this QC's report.

Since last February the Welsh party has inserted a new clause into its constitution that makes is quite clear that there is a requirement on members to treat others with respect, must not bully, harass or intimidate be they members, parliamentarians, members of staff or volunteers and members of the party and to do so would be a case of bringing the party into disrepute.

A similar clause has been inserted into the Welsh Liberal Democrat group here in the National Assembly. A new staff handbook has been issued with regards to roles and responsibilities of people employed by the party and the Welsh NEC has adopted a new complaints procedure which adequately allows us to record and track complains should they arrive.

– Kirsty Williams AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader

Allegations 'make me feel sick to the pit of my stomach' - Welsh Lib Dem leader

The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has been speaking about allegations concerning the former Chief Executive of the UK Lib Dems, Lord Rennard. Kirsty Williams says she's 'satisfied' that the investigations set up by the party are the 'best way to establish exactly what happened.'

She says that in 2008 she received an email which has been referred to in recent reports asking if any concerns had been raised about Lord Rennard's behaviour. She says 'I had no issues to report and nobody had discussed his behaviour with me' but she says she too wants answers.

Any allegation that people behaved inappropriately towards women makes me feel sick to the pit of my stomach.

Women report or don't report for a whole variety of reasons and we respect why they don't report.

It would be very difficult to find any women who haven't in their personal or professional life experienced some sort of inappropriate behaviour.

If you think that Wales and Welsh politics is immune from that behaviour, you're kidding yourself.

Two of the women who've made allegations have connections to the Welsh party. Kirsty Williams says the Welsh Lib Dems will ensure that their procedures are up to scratch although she's confident they are.

There's no evidence that there's any issue with Welsh Liberal Democrats' [complaints] procedure. I would like to satisfy myself that that advice is right and that the right procedures are in place. We will ask the NEC to look at existing policy and take it from there.