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.
Public Concern at Work are able to provide witnesses with independent and confidential advice. They are able to provide guidance and help to victims with regards to who they should go to in the context of the reviews and investigations under way. They will assist individuals in contacting investigators, only where the individual wishes to do so.
Those wishing to come forward under this arrangement can do so by calling: 020 7404 6609.
Please be assured that if you have already contacted Kate Parminter, she will continue to support you and pass on information to the two investigations as instructed by you. There is no need to repeat this process with Public Concern at Work, unless you would like to do so.
Investigation into Specific Allegations
Secondly, we have appointed Alistair Webster QC to lead the formal internal investigation under the Party’s disciplinary rules into the specific allegations made about the conduct of Lord Rennard.
Alistair has prosecuted and defended many prominent cases. He has been a recorder of the Crown Court since 1991 and a QC since 1995. He is a former Chairman of the Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association and practices from chambers in Manchester and London. He is one of the country’s most experienced criminal lawyers and is currently the joint head of Lincoln House Chambers.
I am confident Alistair has the right skills and expertise to lead a team that will fully investigate the allegations made in a fair and thorough manner.
There will be four other members of the panel; three will be women.
Investigation into process
Thirdly, we will shortly be announcing an independent Chair for the investigation into our procedures and to thoroughly examine how allegations made in the past have been handled.
I will update you on this decision as soon as possible.
If you have any questions about any of the processes underway, feel free to contact me at [email protected] The feedback so far has been immensely useful.
* Tim Gordon is Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats.