10 years ago when Bridget Harris was working at the Welsh Assembly, Lord Rennard, then Liberal Democrat chief executive made a series of unwanted advances towards her which she described as “furtive, obtrusive and upsetting”.
“I think mistakes were definitely made. They were made by Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander and Jo Swinson.”
Paul Burstow “deeply regrets” his own mistakes and has apologised to the woman concerned. Helena Morrissey slams him for not taking concerns to the party president. Complaints were handled mainly by Jo Swinson and Danny Alexander, their actions were “ultimately not sufficient”. Comms chief turned Clegg’s Chief of Staff Jonny Oates gets both barrels:
“Oates’ denial of Clegg’s awareness was more black-and-white than the reality of the situation. While it was technically true that Clegg was unaware of the specific alleged incidences as detailed by the newspaper in their correspondence with him, Oates could have made it clear that Clegg was aware of several anonymous, ‘non-specific’ allegations.”
You might have thought that being under a police investigation for his hands on approach to promoting female candidates would see LibDem HQ keeping randy Rennard out of the spotlight. His influence on the LibDem candidate selection process might give good reason to keep him away from, say, Lib Dem candidates, surely? No, it’s all hands to the pump…
In the run-up to last week’s local elections the pervy-peer was busy campaigning for the party in Eastbourne, boasting afterwards: “we held all six seats that we were defending in Eastbourne including Upperton where I was helping”. Guido wonders what HQ make of his involvement?
UPDATE: A LibDem spokesman tells Guido: “we were only made aware of it by his posting on Facebook. He is free to make his own decisions. His membership is under investigation.”
BREAKING Met Police have now launched formal investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard
— Cathy Newman (@cathynewman) April 23, 2013
Our understanding is that the Metropolitan Police are investigating two complaints from victims who have come forward – we have had the names for some time.
Last night was a bad one for the LibDem grassroots, as the government won the Lords vote on secret courts. 26 yellow peers rebelled and voted against, but one was conspicuous in his absence. Lord Rennard was too unwell to attend:
From: “RENNARD, Lord” <RennardC@parliament.uk>Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 20:53:33 +0000Subject: RE: Final briefing on the Justice and Security Bill ahead of this afternoon’s debateThanks
Unfortunately I am not well enough to attend at the moment
That little trick hasn’t worked for Handy-cock…
If Clegg could put his fingers in his ears and bury his head in the sand at the same time, he would. A much easier ride on LBC this week, but he still managed to admit he doesn’t want to know the details of allegations against his pervy peers. On the number of complaints to the new LibDem sex scandal hotline:
“I have decided not to find out. It’s not right for the Leader of the Party to pry into this. What I want to do is ensure the failures in the past never happen again. We’ve got to turn a page on the culture. One of the key aspects of that is to give people complete assurance that if they come forward with a complain they will be dealt with in complete confidence and if they need to be taken forward, they are taken forward.”
He says complete confidence, others might say wilful blindness…