Clegg admits he knew of Rennard concerns five years ago – Media and blog round up: February 25th 2013

25th February, 2013 9:30 am

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Rennard Allegations – Clegg admits he was told of concerns five years ago

“The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, was embroiled in the most difficult crisis of his leadership on Sunday after he admitted he had been aware of concerns about sexual harassment by a senior party figure more than four years ago. Lib Dem officials spent three days insisting Clegg had not known about the complaints over the behaviour of the former party chief executive and strategist Lord (Chris) Rennard, which were made on Channel 4 news on Thursday. On Sunday Clegg returned from a family holiday in Spain to make his first public statement on the controversy, in which he said that he had not known about the Channel 4 “allegations” but was made aware of “indirect and non-specific concerns” in 2008.” – Guardian

“Mr Clegg even dragged Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander into the row by revealing he asked him to investigate the allegations FIVE years ago. The peer had denied them and the matter was dropped. Lord Rennard, who led the party’s election campaigns, is accused of inappropriately touching a number of women, including one of Mr Clegg’s former special advisers. The peer vehemently denies the claims.” – The Sun

“Mr Alexander is also likely to be asked why he appeared to take Lord Rennard’s denials at face value without conducting a full investigation into the women’s claims.” – Telegraph

“Nick Clegg was accused of a ‘classic cover-up’ last night after admitting he has known for five years that Lord Rennard faced claims of molesting women.” – Daily Mail

Harman attacks “ageist and sexist” TV companies

“Harriet Harman has written to leading broadcasters asking about the number of older women employed within their organisations, the Labour Party said on Sunday. The move is part of the Commission on Older Women’s work on females in the media and public life, which Harman chairs. The shadow deputy prime minister who doubles as shadow culture secretary said there needed to be “more change” especially in relation to “this combination of ageism and sexism” faced by older women.” – Guardian

Other highlights

  • AlanGiles

    I wonder if Labour ever wanted to have a public enquiry to see whether Blair knew about Ron Davies’s cottaging in 1998?. Or Blunkett’s drawer-dropping antics in the early 2000s?, or Stephen Byers inviting a lady, who wasn’t his wife, up to this hotel room to see his etchings after a conference?. or what Gordon Brown knew about the case of the invisible cleaner of Mr Purnell?
    The reason I pose these questions is because the Labour spokesperson for Women has demanded a(nother) “public enquiry” over Lord Rennard.
    There is nothing more sickening than politicians taking the moral high ground

    • Hugh

      Without being a fan of any of the above, there’s a fairly obvious difference between claims of infidelity or promiscuity and sexual harassment, isn’t there?

      • AlanGiles

        I was pointing out that no political party can afford to pretend to be “purer than pure” to coin a phrase. Blunkett even published his squalid diaries to highlight his carryings-on, to make extra money.
        The way some section of Labour are going on (especially the spokesperson on Radio 4 this morning’s “News Briefing” (0530) you would imagine that no Labour figure had ever been caught with his trousers down.
        The real point is, some politicians, like some actors, engineers, authors, whatever profession you care to name, can’t keep their hands to themselves, therefore should we have a “public enquiry” each time one of them transgresses?

        • Hugh

          No, but I think when Nick Clegg is caught shamelessly lying it is asking too much of man not to enjoy it a little.

    • Jonathan Roberts

      “There is nothing more sickening than politicians taking the moral high ground” 100% agree. Whenever I see anyone in politics (in parliament or out) claiming a moral highground for their own side, it is almost always wholely undeserved, hypocritical and dishonest. I do wish everyone in politics could stop pretending they are more moral than each other – then we might end the silly gamesmanship and just get on with finding actual solutions to our nation’s problems. This Lib Dem stuff is dreadful, and it needs sorting, but I could name one or two women very active in the Labour Party who have been subjected to similar things (I did encourage them to report it) – including at least 1 former MP who only employed attractive researchers and whose hands would often wander. This shouldn’t be a battle for unearned moral highground, it should be a matter of justice for the victims.


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