The report, which was authored by businesswoman Helena Morrissey, concluded that Oates could have been clearer about party leader Nick Clegg’s awareness of the situation. It stated:
‘Oates’ denial of Clegg’s awareness was more black-and-white than the reality of the situation. While it was technically true that Clegg was unaware of the specific alleged incidences as detailed by the newspaper in its correspondence with him, Oates could have made it clear that Clegg was aware of several anonymous, "non-specific" allegations.’
Oates was director of communications and policy for the party before moving to Bell Pottinger Public Affairs in 2008.
The Telegraph said that after taking legal advice it did not publish details of the allegations as none of the women wished to make public their concerns at the time.
The report was commissioned by the party in the wake of a number of women coming forward to complain about the behaviour of former party chief executive Lord Rennard, who denies the allegations.
A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: ‘We accept the report and its findings in full.’
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