No apology from Lib Dem accused of sexual harassment
A senior Liberal Democrat accused of sexually harassing women has ignored requests to apologise and says he plans to begin working for the party once again.
A QC investigating on behalf of the party found that the allegations against the party's former chief executive and current peer Chris Rennard were "credible" but could not be proven "beyond reasonable doubt."
"In my opinion, the evidence of behaviour which violated the personal space and autonomy of the complainants was broadly credible," Alistair Webster said in a statement.
"However, it is my judgment, considering all of the evidence collected, that it is unlikely that it could be established beyond reasonable doubt that Lord Rennard had intended to act in an indecent or sexually inappropriate way.
"Without proof of such an intention, I do not consider that such a charge would be tenable."
He stressed that he was not calling Rennard's accusers unreliable and discounted suggestions that the allegations were part of a political campaign against him.
He also suggested that Rennard should apologise for his actions.
"It is my view that Lord Rennard ought to reflect upon the effect that his behaviour has had and the distress which it caused and that an apology would be appropriate, as would a commitment to change his behaviour in future."
Lib Dem president Tim Farron also called on Farron to apologise, but said the peer would not be expelled from the party.
"Lord Rennard is not a current employee of the party and therefore the threshold that must be met for disciplinary action is higher than if this was a company HR procedure," he said.
He added: "While this process has not found to a criminal standard of proof that Lord Rennard acted with indecent intent, it is clear that he did not behave in the way that a Chief Executive should behave.
"Lord Rennard must reflect on his actions and apologise to the women involved."
A separate police investigation into Rennard has already been dropped.
Rennard today welcomed the findings but did not take the opportunity to issue an apology.
"I am pleased that this brings to an end all investigations concerning allegations made against me on Channel 4 News last February," he said in a statement.
"I now look forward to resuming my roles within the Liberal Democrats. I remain committed to the same values which made me join the Liberal Party as a teenager more than 40 years ago."