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Lord Rennard will not face criminal charges over sexual harassment allegations

Police conclude that there is insufficient evidence to support a prosecution in relation to allegations of sexual touching

Former Liberal Democrat chief executive Lord Rennard will not face criminal charges that he sexually harassed women party activists because of insufficient evidence, Scotland Yard has said.

The peer, 53, had denied wrongdoing and said that he was not surprised by the decision after a “harrowing and deeply unpleasant” eight months for himself and his family.

Lord Rennard was interviewed under caution in June after he voluntarily went to a police station in south London.

Scotland Yard said it was agreed from the beginning that any internal misconduct issues would be referred back to the Lib Dems. The party said the police decision not to prosecute meant that its disciplinary process, led by Alistair Webster QC, could resume.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and two other Lib Dem ministers – Danny Alexander and Jo Swinson – were sharply criticised in a review of the party’s handling of the complaints made against Lord Rennard. Businesswoman Helena Morrissey, who conducted the inquiry, said that there should have been a formal investigation launched when his accusers first came forward.

Scotland Yard said it made the decision not to prosecute after meetings with party officials and did not refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service to make the final decision.