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Police to be called in Rennard row

Police to be called in Rennard row
An alleged victim of sexual harassment in the Lord Rennard row has said she is reporting the Liberal Democrat peer to the police.

Alison Smith said she "never wanted to do trial by media" and that it was "very important that these things should be heard out properly and officially".

"Certainly the allegations are actually much more serious than even those that were originally aired by Channel 4," she added.

Another Lib Dem peer, Lord Stoneham, has also been reprimanded by the party for remonstrating with a female Lib Dem who had contacted the media over Lord Rennard.

Nick Clegg this morning admitted that the allegations about Lord Rennard's treatment of women were "in the background" when the peer resigned as Liberal Democrat chief executive.

The Liberal Democrat leader also told how his former chief of staff confronted Lord Rennard over claims of "totally unacceptable behaviour".

Mr Clegg was speaking on his weekly phone-in show on LBC Radio amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women by the peer. Lord Rennard denies the allegations.

The Lib Dem leader said that he had first heard of non-specific allegations in 2008 and that Danny Alexander, now Chief Secretary to the Treasury, spoke to Lord Rennard about them.

The Deputy Prime Minister said: “There was this sort of general concern. [Danny Alexander] meets Rennard, says, you know, ‘we’ve been told there are these general concerns, they are totally unacceptable. If you’re doing this kind of thing you must stop now.’ He vociferously denied it all."

Of Lord Rennard's departure in 2009, he said: "Of course, these things were in the background but his ill health was the immediate reason why he stood down."

However another Lib Dem peer rushed to the defence of Lord Rennard this afternoon.

Baroness Williams told the BBC her colleague was a “very fine man” and that the situation had been “hopefully exaggerated”. She also described the House of Commons as a "very bullying place, a masculine culture".

Party President Tim Farron today said there was “every chance” the Liberal Democrats had failed the women who raised concerns about Lord Rennard’s conduct and that the party needed to “take that on the chin”.

The pressure is mounting on Mr Clegg following reports that he was warned in person by one of his MPs about the allegations against Lord Rennard.

Former MP and party spokeswomen Sandra Gidley confirmed she had a “face-to-face” discussion with Mr Clegg after he was elected leader in 2007, The Daily Telegraph has reported.

Green Box: Police to be called in Rennard rowClick to open

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