Rennard denies the claims. The party has launched an internal review into how it dealt with the allegations. The party initially denied leader Nick Clegg knew of the claims, but he later admitted he was aware of ‘non-specific concerns’.
How I see it
Steven Gauge, senior consultant at PLMR and former aide to Nick Clegg and Charles Kennedy
The Lib Dems’ management of their ‘Gropergate’ incident started well. Nick Clegg didn’t just set up an investigation, he ‘instructed’ the party president to set one up.
Inquiries buy time and the story was asked to wait in the long grass while the lawnmower maintenance sub-committee was convened.
Chris Rennard, while issuing robust denials, had the nous to step down from potentially awkward roles. The Lib Dems should have left it at that, focusing on the Eastleigh by-election. But too many spokesmen, issuing too many conflicting sound bites, have turned it from an HR difficulty into something on a different scale.
Fudged fixes behind the scenes may have been ‘getawaywithable’ years ago, but as a party of government, the Lib Dems need to be able to withstand a higher level of public scrutiny.