Lib Dems launch internal probe after sex harassment claims

Lib Dems launch sex harrassment probe
Lib Dems launch sex harrassment probe
Ian Dunt By

The Liberal Democrats have launched an investigation into the way the party handles harassment claims after allegations of sexual impropriety were made against Lord Rennard.

The Lib Dem peer has stepped aside temporarily while he deals with the accusations, which were broadcast by Channel 4 last night.

"Lord Rennard is deeply shocked by and strongly disputes the allegations made against him in the Channel 4 News broadcast," a statement issued on behalf of the peer, who is in Armenia overseeing elections, said.

"He regards the report as a total distortion of his character.

"Not a single complaint of misconduct was made against him to his knowledge during the 27 years he worked for the Liberal Democrat party.

"Despite the claim made by one woman in the report, Lord Rennard continued working closely with her for ten years after the alleged event described."

Lord Rennard faces several allegations of sexual impropriety, including inappropriate touching and propositioning.

By standing aside from the party's group in the Lords, the peer will not be able to vote with his party on issues and will also have to withdraw from the party's federal policy committee.

For the Lib Dems, there is a danger the row will balloon into a general question of how they handle allegations of sexual harassment.

The Channel 4 report found some of the women had reported the allegations but it was not taken any further.

Party president Tim Farron will conduct the internal review into party procedure, which will include an assessment of past allegations.


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