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.

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

Posted in News | Also tagged | 34 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 116 Comments

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

Posted in News | Also tagged | 66 Comments

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

Posted in News | Comments Off

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

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

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

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

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 …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 23 Comments

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 …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 24 Comments

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

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 37 Comments

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.

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | Comments Off

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 …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments

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

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 3 Comments

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 …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 6 Comments

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 …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

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

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

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

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

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 …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 7 Comments

Jo Swinson talks directly to Lib Dem members about her role in the Chris Rennard allegations

jo swinson Alex Folkes/Fishnik PhotographyLast night, Danny Alexander wrote this post for LibDemVoice explaining his role in the allegations concerning Lord Rennard, confirming he spoke directly to the party’s then chief executive to make clear any future conduct would have consequences: “These were not easy conversations, nor should they have been.”

Jo Swinson, whose only previous public statement on the issue was posted here on LibDemVoice, took to the stage at last night’s party conference rally to talk directly to members about how she’d handled the allegations which were …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Lord Rennard: further reports and a new statement

Radio 4 ran a piece about the allegations against Chris Rennard today which covered a wide range of the questions raised so far. You can listen to it here. (Update – also written up by the BBC here.)

A spokesperson for Lord Rennard also issued a statement today, which says:

Lord Rennard refutes these allegations. He will co-operate with any properly constituted inquiry.

He has been notified of an internal investigatory panel within the Party. The matter must now be regarded as sub judice pending its proceedings and no further statement will be issued in the interim.

Posted in News | 14 Comments

Mark Pack on BBC comments on Chris Rennard allegations

Lib Dem Voice co-editor Mark Pack was interviewed by the BBC yesterday about the allegations concerning Chris Rennard. Here’s what he had to say:

Posted in News | Also tagged | Leave a comment

Stephen Tall on Sky News comments on today’s Chris Rennard allegations

Lib Dem Voice co-editor Stephen Tall was interviewed on Sky News earlier today about the allegations concerning Chris Rennard — here’s what he had to say:

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged | 9 Comments

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.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , and | Comments Off

Today’s front pages: the Chris Rennard allegations dominate

Today’s front pages of the newspapers are about as grim as you might imagine after the weekend’s events…

rennard front pages - 25 feb 2013

I’ve not had chance to read through all the press yet. Two that have caught my eye are this critical, but fair-minded, editorial in The Guardian:

Like the BBC over Jimmy Savile in recent weeks, the Liberal Democrats have faced difficult press allegations in recent days. Last night the Liberal Democrats found themselves scrambling to clarify whether they looked in the other direction over claims about their former

Posted in News | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Nick Clegg’s statement on Chris Rennard: 5 key points

It’s just over an hour since we published Nick Clegg’s statement concerning the allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour levelled against Lord (Chris) Rennard. Here are some quick, initial thoughts:

1) Nick Clegg has stuck by his position, repeated earlier today by Vince Cable and Danny Alexander, that he “did not know about these allegations until Channel 4 informed the party of them shortly before they were broadcast.” However, he was aware of “indirect and non-specific concerns about Chris Rennard’s conduct” in 2008, his first year as party leader. He asked Danny Alexander to put these allegations to Chris Rennard, who …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Statement from Nick Clegg on Chris Rennard allegations

The following statement by Nick Clegg has just been issued:

The allegations made on Channel 4 concerning Lord Rennard last Thursday were extremely serious and distressing to the women involved. It is critical they are investigated thoroughly and dealt with properly and they will be.

But I would like to make one thing crystal clear. I did not know about these allegations until Channel 4 informed the party of them shortly before they were broadcast. I have today spoken to one of the women in the broadcast who I respect and admire and who confirmed that she had never raised the issue

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Chris Rennard allegations: where we’re at

Today’s press makes grim reading for the Lib Dems. Three of the Sunday papers lead on the allegations that Lord (Chris) Rennard behaved sexually inappropriately during his time as chief executive, and — more worrying still — that the party covered it up.

Posted in News | 26 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarP Benson 16th Apr - 7:42pm
    How anyone can be proud to work with IDS is beyond me.The man who has wasted a fortune on a unworkable UC.His WP is next...
  • User AvatarJoeBourke 16th Apr - 7:35pm
    There is a relatively simply way of delivering £2500 financial support to university students, apprentices and others undertaking FE or skills training i.e. a universal...
  • User Avatarg 16th Apr - 7:23pm
    JohnTilly, I suspect Michael White is referring to the various stories that have appeared on the news website Exaro. This is run by an ex-Guardian...
  • User AvatarRC 16th Apr - 7:23pm
    @ Malc "Not all of us had the advantage of higher education" A decent school teaches pupils to use apostrophes properly by the age of...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 16th Apr - 7:21pm
    @ Simon Shaw, Clearly we are approaching this from different angles. I am approaching from the angle of a voter who believed that the politicians...
  • User Avatarmalc 16th Apr - 7:12pm
    RC: "And why can’t some people who are apparently obsessed about higher education use apostrophes correctly?" Not all of us had the advantage of higher...