Hit or Miss? Lib Dems launch inquiry into handling of impropriety allegations

Channel 4 News reported claims by female Liberal Democrats of sexual impropriety by ex-party chief executive Lord Rennard, as well as of the party failing to act on complaints.

Nick Clegg: under media scrutiny
Nick Clegg: under media scrutiny

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.

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