Sunday, 19 January 2014

The problem with Lord Rennard...

The situation with Lord Rennard is becoming more and more untenable for the Party and the
Leadership and needs to be resolved as quickly  as possible.

The big problem for Nick Clegg and Tim Farron is that there is not enough evidence for the CPS to prosecute. Those that know me or read my blog regularly (when I wrote regularly!) is that I have the utmost respect for the Law and belief that wrong doers are prosecuted. I also stand by the maxim that you are Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law by a Jury of your peers.

Unfortunately there are cases where someone is clearly guilty of a crime but there is not enough evidence for the CPS to construct a case for a court and would thusly be wasting everyone's time. The Rennard case appears to be just that. After an internal investigation and interviews the party leadership has said that they believe the accusations from the women concerned however there is not enough evidence for a criminal case. However his guilt or innocence cannot be unequivocally proven.

So, should Lord Rennard be kicked out of the party?

In my opinion, yes. Chris Rennard has been an energetic and enthusiastic member of the Liberal Democrats who has given many years of service to the party. I've seen him speak at conference and he was very inspiring. The thing is though, by his supposed actions and the fact that it was reported by the press (somewhat heavily!) he has undeniably brought the party into disrepute. If the victims' testimonies are good enough to believed by the Leadership and the internal investigation then it is good enough for me that guilt lies within.

The problem is that because there is not enough evidence for a criminal trial there isn't enough evidence to prove that he did do it so there is a lot of room for appeal and even for him to survive a disciplinary hearing so again making a farce of the whole thing.

Tim is right, rules need to be changed and I, and I'm sure many others support him in his moves to make sure these things do not repeat themselves.

As leader of the Party Nick should have the power to remove the party whip from Lord Rennard. Yes he has many powerful friends within the party, ones that have written a damning indictments in the Daily Mail and others who can make Nick's life hell but there is the support of many activists who are getting increasingly angry at the inaction. As leader, all positions of power and influence are decided by Nick and he is well within his rights to remove the whip and give it to someone else. If Lord Rennard cannot be removed from the party then this would go a long way to appeasing the membership.

More importantly Lord Rennard should fall upon his sword and either apologise for his actions (which would amount to admitting guilt so probably won't!) or stand down from the party. His presence will always be a reminder and a cause of vexation for activists who would feel (rightly or wrongly) that he has got away with treating women like objects and acting disrespectfully. Whether or not he is innocent or guilty standing away and resigning is the best thing he can do for the party.

If the party cannot, due to rules and red tape, act then Lord Rennard, if he does truly love the party and all it stands for, must do the decent thing and step back and resign. The party has survived many crisis' during the past four years and every time it looks like we are pulling it all back some fresh problem comes to light. Nick needs to act to limit the serious damage this has caused.


  1. As someone expelled from the "LibDems" on a charge that being an economic liberal is "incompatible with party membership" I find it interesting to see what is compatible with it.

    In the normal way of "LD" bloggers I assume this comment will be censored.

    1. I must be honest I am severelly disappointed that nothing is being done - although I've just read he has been suspended!

      I am surprised that you were expelled for that! Doesn't sound like fair play at all and I have only deleted one comment in my three years and that was by mistake ;-)

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment

  2. Chris, you can be absolutely assured that Neil Craig was not expelled for the reasons he gives. I don't want to reveal much more publicly, but Craig's comments are an absolute lie.

  3. Well Chris,

    You have magical powers!

    You have been able to have read several newspapers and censored LD 'reports' as well as one-sides TV appearances from self-styled 'victims' and say with complete conviction where guilt lies in this case.

    Without access to the Webster report, the statements upon which it is based and the reasoning which has not been given, how can you find guilt?

    Possibly, IF the women concerned will be seen on a without prejudice basis to see if mediation is available, IF they agree that n court action will ensue, THEN it is just possible that Rennard may agree to a form of words of regret or whatever that is suitable for all sides, and then we can put this to bed.

    But please, do not believe you have the divine omniscience without ALL the facts.

    1. Hi James,

      To be frank I have used the information available to the public and the average member and I'm afraid that is how Lord Rennard is being judged. The little information that has trickled out of HQ on the reports states that the victims are to be believed but there is not enough evidence to prove guilt. What was I supposed to think?

      Further to that, if you read the text again you will see that I never accuse Lord Rennard of guilt as that would be libel. I keep refering to his supposed Guilt/innocence before stating that in my opinion he should be removed for bringing the party into disrepute - kicked out probably was too strong a phrase and Suspended would probably been a better word.

      I stand by my opinion as a Liberal and a member of the public and I am free to state an opinion that is based on available facts as are you, the media and my aunt Sally.