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Cornish Lib Dems support Lord Rennard suspension

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

Cornish Lib Dems support Lord Rennard suspension
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LIBERAL Democrat MPs in Cornwall have supported the party's decision to suspend Lord Rennard after he failed to apologise over sexual harassment allegations.

The peer is unable to sit as a Lib Dem in the House of Lords after his party suspended him for failing to apologise to the female activists over sexual harassment claims.

The party's leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has said Lord Rennard should apologise.

An internal party inquiry said it the women's claims could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt but were "broadly credible", and urged him to apologise.

Lord Rennard – the party's former campaign director and chief executive – has always denied the accusations, insisted an apology would be an admission of guilt and is reportedly threatening to sue the Lib Dems as the crisis continues within the party.

St Austell and Newquay MP Stephen Gilbert said: "The allegations are very serious ones that have been investigated by both the Liberal Democrats and the police.

"Although the police have decided not to take action against him, it's right Lord Rennard should be suspended from the Liberal Democrats and should apologise."

North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson said: "Nick Clegg has made it absolutely clear that Lord Rennard's refusal to apologise is unacceptable."

The decision to suspend the peer was taken by the English Regional Parties, which oversees disciplinary procedures under the English Party membership rules, and was made pending the outcome of a fresh inquiry into whether his failure to apologise brought the party into disrepute.

Although Lord Rennard will not be able to sit as a Lib Dem in the Lords and will be denied the opportunity to have a role in writing the party's manifesto for the 2015 election, he will still be able to attend and vote as an independent peer. If the inquiry concludes he has brought the party into disrepute, Lord Rennard could face expulsion from the Lib Dems.

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