Tag Archives: chris rennard

Chris Rennard (Baron Rennard of Wavertree) was the Liberal Democrat Chief Executive 2003-2009. They Work For You documents Lord Rennard’s activity in the House of Lords.

Statement from Rock the Boat – Liberal Democrats against harassment

Rock the Boat – Liberal Democrats Against Sexual Harassment – today welcomed the statements from Tim Farron and Lord Rennard this morning regarding the House of Lords’ representative on the Federal Executive.

Grace Goodlad, steering group member, said:

We are saddened that it took the triggering of a Special Conference and a public plea from our Party Leader to get there, but we are pleased that good sense has now prevailed.

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++Breaking: Chris Rennard’s statement as he stands down from the Federal Executive

Chris Rennard has made the following statement announcing that he has withdrawn from the Federal Executive:

A week ago, I was elected by the votes of the Liberal Democrat members of the House of Lords to be their representative on the party’s Federal Executive. Any Lib Dem peer could have stood, all of them could vote, and I was elected by 44 votes to 25. Since then a number of party members have objected to that outcome and sought to effectively overturn it by removing the right of the Lib Dem peers to have a representative on it.

I was disappointed that in a party called the Liberal Democrats there should be such a challenge to the result of a democratic election. I recognise, however, that there has been much controversy in the party and this has continued partly because it has been very poor in communicating to its members the outcomes of all the various processes investigating allegations made against me. In particular, many members have remained unaware of the key conclusion concerning me in the final report of the independent businesswoman, Helena Morrissey, who reviewed these processes.

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+++Breaking: Tim Farron calls on Chris Rennard to step down from the Federal Executive

Tim Farron has issued the following statement calling on Chris Rennard to step down from the Federal Executive position to which he was elected by Liberal Democrat Lords last week:

As you know, Chris Rennard’s election to the Federal Executive has prompted party members to call for a Special Conference.

I have not spoken out until now as I have been giving Chris time to reflect on the party’s reaction to his election.

I have decided it is time to make clear publicly that I do not believe it is in the interests of the party for Chris to take up his position on the FE.

Chris was entitled to stand for election and the Lords were entitled to elect him. That does not mean his decision to put himself forward was in the best interests of the party.

Helena Morrissey’s review threw the spotlight on our party’s culture and working practices. We have made major changes to the constitution and to the rules we use to apply its values.

For example, we have ensured that for instances of alleged discrimination, bullying, harassment or intimidation, we now operate to the standards you would expect in most modern workplaces.

However, I also believe that the call for a Special Conference shows we still have some way to go to convince our members that the party’s culture has changed.

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++Special conference is triggered – all members will be able to attend


On Thursday, LDV reported that Chris Rennard was elected to represent the party’s House of Lords group on the Federal Executive.

Since then, a petition has been submitted to the party by the group ‘Rock the Boat – Lib Dems against Sexual Harrassment’. The petition calls for a Special Party Conference to debate a Constitutional amendment to remove the seat on Federal Executive reserved for a nominee from the Lords group. The petition has been declared valid as it includes over 200 signatures of members from at least 20 different local parties.

Posted in A weekly catchup and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 117 Comments

Chris Rennard elected to Federal Executive by Lib Dem peers

There has as yet been no official confirmation, but it is being widely reported that the Lib Dem group in the House of Lords has elected Chris Rennard as its representative on the party’s Federal Executive.

First, here is a reminder from the party website (where you can see the other current members) of the FE’s role:

The Federal Executive (FE) is the governing body of the Federal Party. It is responsible for directing, co-ordinating, and implementing the work of the Federal Party.

The FE is Chaired by the Party President, and has representatives of the members (15 members elected by Conference), the state parties, MPs, Peers, MEPs, and councillors.

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Statement from Lord Rennard

A spokesman for Lord Rennard issued the following statement last night:

All allegations made about Lord Rennard have now been investigated thoroughly.  This included a seven month investigation by specially trained officers of the Metropolitan Police.  The police decided that there could be no charges and did not even a send a file to the Crown Prosecution Service.

In addition, there was a lengthy investigation by independent QC Alistair Webster.  He also concluded that there was insufficient evidence even to proceed to a disciplinary hearing.

The Liberal Democrat Party has now dealt with all the allegations and the matter is closed.

We must advise anyone against publishing or broadcasting defamatory remarks. Accusations that were rejected by both the Metropolitan Police and an independent QC would be treated as such.

Posted in News | 51 Comments

Lord Rennard’s membership of the Liberal Democrats restored by Party Committee

It’s been announced tonight that the suspension of Lord Rennard’s membership of the Liberal Democrats has been lifted, bringing to an end the disciplinary process against him.

From the BBC:

The former Lib Dem chief executive was suspended after being accused of bringing the party’s name into disrepute for failing to apologise over sexual harassment claims.

He apologised in May for his behaviour.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said the dropping of disciplinary proceedings had now brought the matter to a close.

A Party spokesperson is quoted as saying:

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.

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Lord Rennard remains suspended

According to the BBC, Chris Rennard’s challenge against his suspension from the party has been rejected.

The former chief executive of the Lib Dems had been suspended amid claims that he had brought the party into disrepute by failing to apologise over sexual harassment allegations.

Lord Rennard challenged his suspension from the Lib Dems, saying it was against party rules.

A Lib Dem source said: “His appeal against his suspension has been rejected. He remains suspended while the investigation continues.”


Please note that all comments will be moderated on this post.



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++ Susan Gaszczak resigns from the Lib Dems over handling of Chris Rennard allegations

Susan Gaszczak and her family have quit the party over the handling of the Chris Rennard allegations. Earlier this afternoon, Susan tweeted this, including her open resignation letter:

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Lord Rennard issues apology to four women: “regret for any harm or embarrassment caused to them”

Channel 4 News last night revealed that Lib Dem peer and former chief executive Lord (Chris) Rennard has issued a written apology to four of the women who accused him of sexual impropriety. You can read it in full below.

Read the Lord Rennard Letter in full by Channel4News

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Legal action to be launched by Lord Rennard unless Lib Dems lift membership suspension

The BBC reports:

Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard has written to his party giving it until Thursday to lift his suspension, the BBC understands. If it fails to do so Lord Rennard is threatening to seek costs from those involved in his suspension, including party president Tim Farron.

The former Lib Dem chief executive was suspended after four female activists accused him of sexual harassment. He denied the claims, but was asked to apologise by an internal investigation. The investigation, led by senior barrister Alistair Webster QC, concluded the claims against Lord Rennard were credible but could not be proven beyond

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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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Tim Farron’s email to Lib Dem members explaining the suspension of Lord Rennard

The following message from Lib Dem party president Tim Farron has just been emailed to members:

It has been a difficult few days for the party. Many of you have contacted me directly to express your anger and disappointment at Lord Rennard’s refusal to apologise following the recommendations of the investigation into his behaviour. As President, I wanted you to hear from me.

Along with Nick Clegg, I made my view absolutely clear – Lord Rennard’s refusal to apologise is unacceptable. Most importantly, Lord Rennard is actively rejecting calls to apologise from party members and is refusing to comply with a formal

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Statement by Lord Rennard on his suspension by the party

Lord Rennard has issued the following statement in response to the news that he has been suspended from the party:

It is impossible to describe how enormously distressed I am by this situation and I am certainly too ill to attend the House of Lords today.

In the interests of my party and all concerned, I will now release a statement that I have prepared:

In 2009, I was the subject of a smear campaign in relation to House of Lords allowances. The timing of this campaign was clearly chosen as it was in the middle of major election campaigns, for

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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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The Rennard case: what Caron Lindsay and Stephen Tall have said about it

Lib Dem Voice’s co-editors, Stephen Tall and Caron Lindsay, have both written on their own blogs about the fall-out from the independent investigation into the allegations against Lord (Chris) Rennard.

Stephen wrote on Friday summarising the background to the mess the party finds itself in here: Q&A on the allegations against Lord Rennard. (My conclusion: it’s a mess.)

And on Sunday Caron posed the question, How is the party going to get through this?

There is an obvious path to peace.

It’s not too late for Chris Rennard to apologise, and to do it well. I really think that he should

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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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Opinion: Time to step back from the brink

Recent events have shown us that. Like many other similar organisations including other political parties and trades unions and some charities we are good at telling others what should be done and then falling short ourselves.  Partly this is due to the fact that money and resource available to tends to go straight to campaigns and partly because when you count a large number of volunteers as part of the party, it is harder to have a clear structure.  Whatever.  We haven’t covered ourselves in glory despite the high quality of many of the individuals concerned.  Employment law didn’t do …

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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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Brian Paddick writes… The curious case of Chris Rennard

For the record, I abhor anyone who uses their power to take advantage of others and that includes men over women, let alone men who are in positions of authority. Chris Rennard denies any wrongdoing and an independent review of the evidence has concluded that there is less than a 51% chance that the allegations could be proved beyond reasonable doubt. As I still hold the record as the highest-ranking openly gay police officer in the UK, hopefully people will accept a degree of neutrality in my observations.

Posted in Op-eds | 55 Comments

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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What Lib Dem members think about The Morrissey Report into alleged sexual harassment within the party

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 600 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

79% of Lib Dem members support Morrissey Report

helena morrissey reportThe independent Morrissey Inquiry, set up by the party following allegations of sexual impropriety against the party’s former chief executive Lord Rennard (which he denies), reported in June. Are you broadly aware of the report and its recommendations?

    67% – Yes

    28% – No

    5% – Don’t know

How effectively do you think the party has communicated the findings of the Morrissey Report?

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged and | 20 Comments

RIP Pratap Chitnis

In memory of Pratap Chitnis, we reproduce below Mark Pack’s tribute to an unjustly forgotten Liberal Hero. The Guardian’s obituary is here.

Pratap (later Lord) Chitnis was the post-war Liberal Party’s first grassroots campaigning mastermind, whose pioneering activities laid the groundwork for the later work of better known people such as Trevor Jones and Chris Rennard.

Born in 1936 to a family with a history of Liberal politics (his grandfather stood and lost in 1906), he was inspired by Jo Grimond to join the Liberal Party himself in 1958. Chitnis first worked in the National Liberal Club’s library and then …

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Helena Morrissey’s Report: No excuses – we have to do what she says and do it well

helena morrissey reportMy co-editor Stephen Tall has already published his first thoughts and a follow up post outlining where praise is due, which I agree with pretty much entirely. I’ve now emerged from my trip to London and subsequent burial under a pile of things that need to be stuffed into envelopes to add a few random thoughts of my own.

“A missed opportunity”

Norman Lamb started to draw up procedures for dealing with harassment in 2003. This work was never completed. Morrissey says:

Lamb is unsure why the drafted procedures were

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Helena Morrissey’s Report: some praise is also due

helena morrissey reportI offered my first impressions of Helena Morrissey’s independent report into the Lib Dems’ culture and practices here yesterday, based on a skim-read and hearing Helena’s presentation of it at a media briefing.

I read the report in full (available online here) on the train home last night. I recommend it to all Lib Dems, and indeed anyone interested in how organisations can totally mess up when dealing with delicate internal issues.

It’s an excellently written, fair-minded, balanced and practical report which understands the idiosyncratic nature of …

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Helena Morrissey’s report: my first impressions

helena morrissey reportI attended Helena Morrissey’s media briefing this afternoon, marking the publication of her independent inquiry report into the ‘culture and processes’ of the Lib Dems following the allegations of sexual impropriety levelled against the party’s former chief executive, Lord (Chris) Rennard.

I’ve not yet had chance to read the full report, so this post is based on a skim read only, together with Helena’s own summary of it to the assembled journalists.

First, Helena set the context: not simply of the specific allegations, but more widely of what she …

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LibLink: Charlotte Henry – How can the Liberal Democrats cure its ‘woman problem’?

Over at the Telegraph, Lib Dem blogger and former London Assembly candidate Charlotte Henry takes a look at the Lib Dems’ ‘woman problem’ in the light of the recent publicity concerning allegations against Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock and former party chief executive Lord (Chris) Rennard. Here’s an excerpt:

The Lib Dems need to get more women elected at every single level, of that there is no doubt. It is galling to still walk into party meetings with barely any women, or to still see male dominated panels at party conference. … All that said, it should be noted that the

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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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The Rennard allegations: what Lib Dem members think about how the party and press handled them

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 650 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

55% say: party handed it badly, now doing right thing

Lord Rennard has been accused of sexual impropriety during his time as Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats. He has denied all the allegations. From what you have seen or heard about the story, how well or badly do you think the Liberal Democrats handled the allegations against Lord Rennard during his

Posted in LDV Members poll | 9 Comments

It’s not just the Lib Dem leadership trying to ignore the ‘secret courts’ row: the news media is too

I had an odd experience on Friday. I was doing a round of media interviews – 3 for TV, 3 for radio – previewing the Lib Dem conference. I’d been called by researchers in advance to ‘get my take’ on the key issues. Each time, I said there was a big issue on which the party leadership could expect to be defeated and which would see activists from across the broad spectrum of the Lib Dems united: opposition to secret courts. This received an “Uh-hum” response which I took for baffled boredom. And as expected, each interview in turn dwelt …

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