Coffee House

Lib Dems reinstate Lord Rennard and drop disciplinary process

19 August 2014

9:29 PM

19 August 2014

9:29 PM

The Lib Dems are not taking any disciplinary action against Lord Rennard and have reinstated his membership, the party said this evening.

Lord Rennard had been suspended from the party as part of the aftermath of allegations about his inappropriate conduct towards a number of women. A party spokesperson said:

‘The Regional Parties Committee met this week to consider whether the party had been brought into disrepute by statements made by Lord Rennard, or on his behalf, following the publication of Alistair Webster’s conclusions.

‘It decided not to proceed with the disciplinary process against him. This brings the matter to a close and means the suspension of his membership is lifted.’

Party president Tim Farron is defending the changes the Lib Dems have made to their culture and practices, saying:

‘No one should ever have to feel that their concerns are being dismissed or ignored and I am clear that the Liberal Democrats should become the ‘gold standard’ for how voluntary organisations treat their members and staff.’

If the party can prove it has changed, that will perhaps be of some comfort to those who have left. But the women who made the allegations about Rennard’s conduct do not seem all that impressed that no action is being taken against the peer.


And from the outside, this doesn’t give the best impression of a party that has long boasted about its commitment to women.

UPDATE, 9.50pm: Nick Clegg has offered his thoughts, for what they’re worth:

‘The Liberal Democrats have taken a long, hard look in the mirror since these allegations were made last year and I am confident that the party has changed. It is clear that a number of women in our party felt let down that the party failed to act on their complaints appropriately. I am determined that no member of our party should find themselves in that position again.

‘That’s why I immediately appointed Helena Morrissey to carry out a root and branch review of our culture and processes and made sure we acted on her recommendations. In addition, at my request the Party President and the Federal Executive established a review into our procedures for handling cases such as this to ensure that the party’s rules are fit for purpose in the future. This review has now been completed by a senior barrister who has recommended that we make changes to the current criminal burden of proof and these changes will now be taken forward.’

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Show comments
  • johnproblem

    A splendid fellow – representative of all that is best in party politics. A chap who is a natural-born leader must be excused for the occasional peccadilloe. The House would be very badly orf without the exceptional intellect and management competence that he has brought to bear upon the problems of hard-working British families. One can only admire the clear and clean-cut view that the Lib Dems have taken of this and deplore the tawdry revelations in the media. I’m proud to be an Englishman, today. Oh, absolutely.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    The Cameroons joyfully welcomed back the multiply-accused rapist, with a loving embrace. Why should anybody expect the Lib Dumbs to do any different, with their deviant malefactor? The standard was already set.

  • Smithersjones2013

    What do you expect from a party led by an admitted arsonist, previously funded by a fraudster and full of nasty little bigots, perverts and deviants?

  • Peter Stroud

    Just how low is the LibDem party willing to stoop? It seems to be inhabited by a load of weirdos and misfits.

    • Wessex Man

      it always has been, it’s just that the British public are waking up to the fact.

  • GhostofJimMorrison

    The Political Class look after their own. Long gone are the days disgraced MPs would fall on their sword for the good of the party, so desperate are they to cling on to power, so convinced of their greatness. They believe they above the rules, beyond them. If you haven’t already done so, read Peter Oborne’s The Triumph of the Political Class.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Well, his constituents can deal with him at the next election … oh, no, hang on, of course this piece of detritus has been appointed as a lordly legislator for the rest of his natural life, so presumably only the Queen can strip him of that undeserved position and remove him so that he no longer defiles our Parliament. Scum is what we get floating to the top of our party political system, not the cream of our society but the dregs, and that is how the scum already at the top prefer it to remain. In fact some Tory MPs were so determined to keep this archaic anti-democratic Lords charade going that they judged it as more important than winning the next election.

  • MirthaTidville

    They are so desperate to shore up their electoral position,and they believe only Rennard has the know how to help. Just watch he will be brought back in a major campaign role.That is the measure of their desperation and how far they will sink for short term gain. Thankfully it wont do them any good,they are a busted flush with a very nasty touch to them…In the meantime his victims must feel bereft and I feel sympathy for them

  • Wessex Man

    The liberal Democrats are now showing themselves in their true technicolour stink, let’s not forget Mike Hancock managing to get his bit on the side into Parliament then finding out she’s a Russian Spy, or Chris Hulne doing time for a criminal offence, or David Laws having to quit his post in Government only days after taking it up or only days ago Pauline Pearce, who quit their presidency contest and branded them as ‘Racist Neanderthals.’

    Mrs Pearce, who is black also said that ‘there is underhand racism and I have been patronised and ridiculed.’

    It seems to me once exposed to the light of day by becoming coalition partners the nastiness that people like myself have been saying of them for years is now being exposed.

    • ukfred

      And then there is David Ward to says if he were Palestinian he would want to fire rockets at Israel. He also probably supported the Palestinian vandalism of the horticultural infrastructure left by the Israelis when they left Gaza.

  • Lady Magdalene

    It almost seems like you have to be a pervert or criminal to become a senior member of the LibDems.

    • David Booth.

      That can’t be right? Why there is Thorpe, Cyril Smith, Paddy Pantsdown, Law, Huhne, Rennard, Clegg the arsonist,
      Hmmm on reflection I see what you mean.

  • David Booth.

    This must be one for Clegg’s record book. Not only has he managed to infuriate the electorate, then his Tory partners, and now his own supporters.
    Well done Nick.

    • MirthaTidville

      Yep must have been taking lessons from Dave

      • David Booth.

        Some people are born as klutz and some aspire to it. Boy Clegg is of the former with aspirations to the latter.

  • HookesLaw

    Gloria De Piero?? What does Austin Mitchell think?

    • Wessex Man

      Hooky babe, you are so incred zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • PaulK

    I’ve read where Gloria De Piero MP, Labour’s shadow minister for women and equalities, responded to the lifting of Lord Rennard’s suspension with: “Nick
    Clegg has sent a clear message to women voters – he is more interested
    in trying to salvage the Lib Dems’ fading election hopes than do the
    right thing by the women who made these serious complaints. Yet again he
    has failed to show any kind of leadership.”
    Sums it up nicely, I would have thought.

    • monty61

      On this occasion at least, this she has it right

      Equally, ‘Fat Old Letch gets away with it’ would be an alternative summary.

      • Portendorfer

        Someone recently called someone the LibDems Max Clifford

        • swatnan

          Rennard is an absolute bounder; sickens me just looking at his grinning chops. The Lib Dems need him like a hole in the head.

    • ButcombeMan

      Clegg must have been tortured by all this.

      We can really rely on Cleggy, bereft of leadership skill, real wisdom, decision making ability. He can always be relied upon, to do exactly the wrong thing.
      De Piero got it wrong, this will cost the LibDems votes.

  • foxoles

    Par for the course.

  • Whyshouldihavetoregister

    Has he said something anti-Semitic?

  • JimmyLinton


  • cambridgeelephant

    I’ve just seen this from Clegg:-

    The Liberal Democrats have taken a long, hard look in the mirror…….”

    he should take on stand up comedy. That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in ages. Ha Ha Ha Ha !!!

    That’s like a porcupine trying to examine it’s own anus………Ha Ha Ha !!!

    • Mark B

      So too did Count Dracula, but he could see nothing wrong !

  • cambridgeelephant

    Hooooorrrraaaayyyyyy !

    I can sleep sound tonight !!!

  • toco10

    I hope for his sake Cleggy has asked permission of his wife because she wears the trousers and holds the purse strings.The open-toed sandal brigade certainly know how to infuriate the entire country.

  • alabenn

    Money trumps morals with political parties, this is more acute with those like Labour and the Lib Dems who spout off about their high ideals.

  • alabenn

    Money trumps morals with political parties, this is more acute with those like Labour and the Lib Dems who spout off about their high ideals.