Nick Clegg renews call for Lord Rennard to apologise

Jan 16, 2014

Peer accused of sexual harrassment won't face any action and friend says he has no need to apologise

Lord Rennard

NICK CLEGG has renewed his call for Lord Rennard to apologise to the women who have accused him of sexually harassing them. But the Liberal Democrat's former chief executive has made it clear he has no intention of doing so, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The Lib Dems ruled out any disciplinary action against Lord Rennard yesterday over the allegations – first aired on Channel 4 News – that he sexually touched or propositioned female activists between 2003 and 2007. The peer said he would resume his "old roles" and his friend and advisor, Lord Carlisle, told the BBC's Today programme the 53-year-old had "no reason" to say sorry.

The issue has been a thorn in the side of Lib Dem leader Clegg, who has been accused of cowardice and a lack of leadership over the issue. Speaking on his LBC radio show this morning, Clegg said Lord Rennard should "do the decent thing" and apologise.

The situation has continued to fester despite a police investigation into the allegations which concluded that Lord Rennard would not be charged. After the police made their decision the Liberal Democrats commissioned their own independent review.

Alistair Webster QC, who chaired the review, found that despite "credible" evidence that Lord Rennard "violated" the personal space of women, it was not enough to prove that he sexually harassed them. Several senior members of the party have said they are "not content" with the review's findings, the Telegraph says.

Despite the misgivings of some party figures, Lord Rennard is free to "immediately resume his role on the party body that ultimately oversees the party's policy", the paper says.

Speaking on the Today programme, Lord Carlisle said his friend had nothing to apologise for. Asked if Lord Rennard had done anything wrong, he replied "no".

Lord Carlisle added: "Lord Rennard has always denied anything wrong and the statements that were placed before Alistair Webster were four statements with complaint in them and about a 100 which refuted those complaints, some of them by people who were present or close to present at the times alleged. There is no reason why he should [apologise] because he's denied the allegations which have not been tried."

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