Lord Rennard, the Lib Dem peer facing sexual harassment allegations, has said that he may sue his party if he is not allowed to return to the House of Lords.
Nick Clegg announced on Friday that he will tell his party to withdraw the whip from Rennard unless he apologises over the claims. Rennard is still at present due to return to the House of Lords.
The LibDem peer Lord Carlile QC, who is acting as Rennard’s legal adviser, has said the issue could be taken to court if Clegg bans him from the House of Lords or the party.
Clegg told the BBC: “I think he should apologise just out of a matter of basic decency. […] That has been the recommendation of an independent formal process. It is very much the view I hold, the president of the party holds and many ordinary Liberal Democrats hold.”
Yet Rennard’s allies are saying that the Lord is the victim of a political conspiracy, according to the Guardian.
It reports on an email either sent to the four women who have made claims against Rennard, from Lawrence Davis, the lawyer representing Bridget Harris, who is making a claim against Rennard.
Davis’s email says: “One non-legal and cheap solution would be for the victims/appealers to say: ‘If the appeal is unsuccessful, we will petition the Queen for Rennard to be stripped of his peerage’.
“You could also ask the Queen that all new lords should have to sign an anti-discrimination contract before taking up their seats because the political parties cannot be trusted to enforce it and it brings the political system into disrepute.
“I am happy to write that letter on a free/pro bono basis. We then leak it to Ch4 news etc or if you/they approve that I can give it to the Mail on Sunday for tomorrow. The Queen won’t do it but she will have to reply and it will add to the pressure on the Libs and the politicians generally. Pls bounce this on to the others and let me know.”
Rennard’s supporters says this proves there was an orchestrated attempt to discredit Rennard – although we’ll leave it to you to decide whether this suggests a conspiracy or whether it is merely a “non-legal and cheap solution”.
Chris David MEP, one of Rennard’s supporters, said in a BBC interview over the weekend: “This is not Jimmy Savile. This is touching someone’s leg six years ago at a meeting through clothing. This is the equivalent a few years ago of an Italian man pinching a woman’s bottom.
“How much is this man going to have to suffer through media condemnation that comes out day after day fed by the party leadership? It is completely out of proportion, nonsense and outrageous.”
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