X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

Nick Clegg drags Danny Alexander into the Rennard allegations

24 February 2013

7:45 PM

24 February 2013

7:45 PM

Nick Clegg has come back from Spain to admit that he did know about the allegations about Lord Rennard’s behaviour towards women – and, for good measure, has told us all that so did Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. In a statement, he has this to say:

‘I am angry and outraged at the suggestion that I would not have acted if these allegations had been put to me. Indeed, when indirect and non-specific concerns about Chris Rennard’s conduct reached my office in 2008, we acted to deal with them. My chief of staff at the time, Danny Alexander, put these concerns to Chris Rennard and warned him that any such behaviour was wholly unacceptable. Chris Rennard categorically denied that he had behaved inappropriately and he continues to do so. He subsequently resigned as chief executive on health grounds.’

Why drag his fellow Cabinet member into this by naming him? Clegg needed only have said that Rennard was formally confronted, and denied the allegations (as he does now).  And we are to believe that it was Danny Alexander who took these denials at face value, rather than order an investigation?

The Telegraph has already disclosed  that it put allegations to Nick Clegg’s office in 2010 and was rebuffed by his then chief of staff, Jonny Oates:

‘On April 30, 2010, Mr Oates [said] it was “untrue to state that Mr Clegg was made aware of the incidents you allege” and confirming that Mr Clegg had not ordered any investigation into Lord Rennard. Mr Oates’s reply also described the reports of Lord Rennard’s behaviour as “unproven claims” and “serious allegations”.’

[Alt-Text]


So Mr Oates’s denial already looks pretty Jesuitical: Clegg now admits that he did know of allegations – maybe not the specific ones that the Telegraph put to him. And while he did not order a formal investigation, he did dispatch his top aide to say that such behaviour “was” – rather than the conditional ‘would be’ – unacceptable.

All told, this is an odd form of crisis management. The standard (and correct) response is to find out the whole truth and admit it all – rather than drip-feed details to an already-salivating media. And opposition.

Here’s Labour’s response (something tells me we won’t get one from the Tories):

‘After days of total denials – some only hours ago from LibDem MPs Vince Cable and Jeremy Brown – Nick Clegg has now been forced to admit that he did know of what he calls ‘indirect concerns’ about Lord Rennard in his role Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrat. Clegg’s statement raises more questions than it answers about his judgement and the willingness of the Lib Dems as a party to properly investigate such serious allegations at the time they were made. At issue is not just a series of serious allegations from a number of women, but how the Liberal Democrat Party responded to those allegations.Only with a fully independent investigation can the public have confidence that the truth will prevail and lessons learned for the future.’

Labour is, of course, following our own James Forsyth in recommending a full inquiry. All of this gives the Rennard imbroglio the air of a fast-spreading scandal. And there is nothing that Fleet St likes more.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close