Liberal Democrats suspend member after rape allegation

Posted On: 
6th November 2017

The Liberal Democrats have confirmed they suspended a member who is alleged to have raped a party activist.

The Lib Dems said the allegations were referred to the police for investigation
PA Images

The move comes after the party were accused of "hushing up" the allegation and waiting six months before making the decision.

Activist Sophia Nash tweeted that a friend in the party told Lib Dem HQ that she had been attacked, but that they continued to allow the accused to retain a position on the Young Liberals executive. 

The party today confirmed that they had suspended the member in question, however Ms Nash said the move came half a year following the initial complaint.

She also claimed the party had initially told the victim they would pass on her identity and the details of her complaint on to the man she said raped her so “he could defend himself.” 

Ms Nash said this was despite the alleged perpetrator having made “several physical threats against her and other people making complaints against him”. 

The party it is claimed said it “could not guarantee” the man would not contact the woman in question after she asked if they could prevent him from doing so.

A further tweet from Ms Nash added: “The general Lib Dem HQ approach to dealing with sexual assault complaints is to say ‘report it to the police’ and then hush it up."

In response to Ms Nash, a Lib Dem spokesperson said: “These allegations were referred to the police for investigation. A member of the party is suspended pending the outcome of that investigation.

"If an allegation is made against a party member, the disciplinary procedure is triggered immediately with an investigator talking to witnesses.

"If someone has an allegation of a criminal nature against a member of the party, we would urge them to go to the police. If they were unable to do so, we would refer it to the police on their behalf.

"Our party has a clear and robust complaints procedure set out on our website. We take any such complaints extremely seriously. If anyone has any complaints, we would urge them to come forward as spelt out on our website, and our pastoral care officer will make prompt contact."