Embattled Clegg faces calls to expel Lord Rennard

 

Deputy Political Editor

With his own political future still in the balance, Nick Clegg faced calls on Thursday night to expel the former Liberal Democrat chief executive Lord Rennard from the party after he apologised to four women who had accused him of sexual harassment.

The peer expressed his regret to the women after spending 15 months denying any wrongdoing – and Lord Rennard, who was suspended from the Lib Dems four months ago over the allegations, could now attempt to rejoin the party with the support of his supporters in the Lords. But Mr Clegg, whose leadership is already under strain following dismal local and Euro election results last week, was urged by two of the women to kick him out of the party.

In a copy of the peer’s apology, obtained by Channel 4 News, he accepted he “may well have encroached upon ‘personal space’” and says he would like to “apologise sincerely for any such intrusion”, which he says “would have been inadvertent”.

Lord Rennard expressed “regret for any harm or embarrassment caused” to the women who complained, Susan Gaszczak, Alison Goldsworthy, Bridget Harris and Alison Smith. He said he accepted the conclusions of an internal party inquiry which concluded that “no further action” was necessary but called on Lord Rennard to apologise.

Ms Gaszczak said she would tear up her party membership unless the peer was expelled. Ms Goldsworthy made the same call, adding: “There is no reason for him [Nick Clegg] to be cowed by Lord Rennard.” A Lib Dem spokesman said the party could not comment while internal investigations continued.

Stephen Tall, co-editor of the influential Lib Dem Voice blog, yesterday called for Mr Clegg’s resignation, but suggested he could stay on as Deputy Prime Minister until the general election. “If Nick Clegg stands down now as party leader, he would go out with his head held high,” he said.

Senior Lib Dems sought to draw a line under the turmoil provoked by the revelation of a failed attempt by Lord Oakeshott to engineer a coup against the Lib Dem leader.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance / Accounts Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established and expanding ...

Recruitment Genius: Bench Locksmith / Engineer / Technician

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading Key Cutting equipm...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - B2B Sales & Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you great at forming strong...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss