Lord Rennard: police launch formal investigation

by Stephen Tall on April 24, 2013

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 that he was “disappointed and angry that anonymous accusations from several years ago” were being made public to damage his reputation.

Shortly after the allegations were aired by Channel 4 News, the party announced two independent inquiries into the allegations:

  1. an internal investigation by the Party to establish whether disciplinary action is due under the Party’s rules headed by Alistair Webster QC — this is paused while the police investigations continue; and
  2. an independent inquiry chaired by Helena Morrissey into the culture, process and complaints within the Liberal Democrats, looking 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.

Update: Richard Cannon of Janes solicitors has issued the following statement:

“We act for Lord Rennard and have spoken to the Metropolitan Police today to confirm that there has been no recent change in the nature of their ongoing investigation. In view of this, it is not appropriate to comment further at this stage.”

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.