Tag Archives: alistair webster

Opinion: What does ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ mean?

The suspension and threatened expulsion from the party of Chris Rennard for ‘failure to apologise’ takes the Rennard affair into a new and much darker place. Even those of us who think Chris should apologise should stop and think about where this is taking us.

Alistair Webster’s statement seemed to me to be entirely sensible, but there was one issue Alistair should have said more about, namely what can count as ‘bringing the party into disrepute’. That issue is crucial because on it depends the rights of minorities in the party to stay within it. If, for example, disagreeing with the …

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Suspension of Lord Rennard

The Liberal Democrats have just issued this statement:

Nick Clegg made clear last week, and again this morning, that it would be inappropriate for Lord Rennard to resume the Liberal Democrat whip unless he apologises. Lord Rennard has refused to do so.

The Regional Parties Committee, which oversees disciplinary procedures under the English Party membership rules, today decided to suspend Lord Rennard’s membership of the party pending a disciplinary procedure. As such, he cannot return to the Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords.

Lord Rennard will now be investigated for bringing the party into disrepute on the grounds of his failure

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Clegg: “Basic decency” that Rennard should apologise for distress caused

Nick Clegg has been doing a round of media interviews this morning – the original purpose was to unveil the Coalition’s mental health strategy, but they’ve been overshadowed by the continuing row over the allegations of sexual impropriety against Lord (Chris) Rennard.

Lord Rennard has decided not to issue an apology to the women who have made complaints against him for any distress caused as recommended by Alistair Webster’s independent report. The QC issued a further statement on Sunday explaining he thought it would be no more than “common manners” for an apology to be offered.

Here’s what …

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Internal investigation into Lord (Chris) Rennard: new statement issued by Alistair Webster QC

On Wednesday, Alistair Webster, the QC appointed by the party to examine the evidence in the disciplinary case being considered against Lord (Chris) Rennard, released this statement explaining his investigation.

A further statement has just been released today:

“In view of the extensive comment which has followed my statement, and in view of some of the statements made by those directly concerned, I wish to make the following quite clear:

“1. My report to the RPC has not been provided to any other party for one reason only: the Committee had unequivocal advice from independent solicitors that to publish it without

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Internal investigation into allegations against Lord Rennard

Statement of Alistair Webster QC’s conclusions
Following allegations made in a Channel 4 documentary early in 2013 I was appointed under Rule 7.6 of the English Party’s membership rules to investigate and determine whether or not it was appropriate to charge Lord Rennard with acting in a way that had brought the party into disrepute. The charge, if proved, might warrant his expulsion from the Liberal Democrats or other sanction under the Party’s rules.

Let me be clear from the outset that the evidence suggests that Lord Rennard’s behaviour has caused distress to a number of women, so much so that they came forward several years after the events in question.

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Lord Rennard: police launch formal investigation

Today’s Independent reports:

The Metropolitan Police has launched a formal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard. Scotland Yard said that detectives had moved from assessing the claims of a small number of women to carrying out “inquiries to corroborate those allegations”. The Metropolitan Police set up a dedicated phone line for alleged victims of sexual misconduct after a number of women made claims in the media about inappropriate conduct by Lord Rennard. The peer, the party’s former chief election strategist, has repeatedly denied any improper behaviour or sexual harassment.

He said at the time

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Update on Party response to allegations of sexual impropriety

The Liberal Democrats have today announced that Helena Morrissey has been appointed as the chair of the independent inquiry into culture, process and complaints within the Liberal Democrats.

The review will also look at attitudes towards women in the party, as well as the employment relationship between staff, elected officials and volunteers; training; and how to lead a wider change in Westminster.

Helena Morrissey has been a leading light in promoting women and breaking barriers as CEO of Newton Asset Management and Founder of the 30% Club, a cross-business initiative aimed at achieving 30% women on UK corporate boards by 2015. I …

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Lord Rennard allegations: the processes now in place

I want to keep you informed on where we stand in the various processes that have started following the allegations against Lord Rennard.

There are now three processes in place:

  • Inquiries by the Metropolitan Police to ascertain whether criminal activity might have taken place. This is still at an early stage and there is no set time limit on when they must decide whether or not a criminal investigation should take place.
  • An internal investigation by the Party, headed by Alistair Webster QC, to establish whether disciplinary action under the Party’s rules is due. This whole process must take no

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Update on the Party’s processes following the allegations concerning the conduct of Lord Rennard

I want to update you on three developments to the processes I outlined in my post on Saturday.

Arrangements for victims and witnesses to come forward

Firstly, we have sought the assistance of Public Concern at Work, the UK’s leading whistle-blowing authority, to ensure that the whistle-blowing arrangement is sufficiently independent to provide the required support to those wishing to come forward in relation to the alleged behaviour of Lord Rennard.

Public Concern at Work have agreed to take over the role, temporarily filled by Kate Parminter, as the main point of contact for anyone wishing to come forward with further allegations or information.

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Lib Dem lawyers attack legal aid plans

Political Scrapbook this weekend has an open letter from Alistair Webster, the chair of the Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association, attacking plans for legal aid:

If the true aim is to leave a skeleton and third rate public legal system, the government should make that clear and we can judge it accordingly … I, for one, do not wish to be ashamed of the Party which I have supported since its foundation. This Bill is dire.

It’s a rather odd letter in some ways – both in its over-the-top rhetoric that is far more likely to put up the backs of the …

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Recent Comments

  • User Avatarpaul hunt 19th Apr - 5:56pm
    Thank you, Stephen. One of the people who introduced me to Liberalism in 1973 told me that he had been inspired to join the Party...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 19th Apr - 4:43pm
    @ Thomas, The difference is that, if Scotland were within NATO, the United Kingdom would have an obligation to defend Scotland, were it to be...
  • User AvatarThomas Robinson 19th Apr - 4:19pm
    RC I would say you absolutely own the illogical stance. Of course England would not be bothered at all if a non-NATO Scotland was invaded...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 19th Apr - 4:08pm
    @ Rabi, I did, less than four months ago, and nothing has happened since then to change my views on the subject. http://www.libdemvoice.org/2014-looking-for-a-dark-horse-or-a-safe-pair-of-hands-37695.html Here's something...
  • User AvatarTracy 19th Apr - 4:06pm
    I agree with Stephen Howse! I do hope we have a wide selection of candidates, including men!
  • User AvatarRabi Martins 19th Apr - 3:49pm
    @ MarkValladeres " I’ll be watching to see if any of the candidates show signs of understanding what is necessary to put up a good...