Lord Rennard, the Liberal Democrat peer accused of sexually harassing female party activists, has been elected by peers to sit on the Liberal Democrat’s ruling body.
The peer was suspended from the party in January 2014 for refusing to apologise when a previous internal investigation found there was “credible evidence” he had “violated the personal space” of female activists.
The Liberal Democrats were accused of having “no backbone” after it emerged they had lifted their suspension against Lord Rennard after disciplinary action linked to the allegations were dropped.
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The party have confirmed to The Telegraph that the senior appointment to the Party’s Federal Executive was made after a vote in the House of Lords.
Susan Gaszczak, one of the peer’s alleged victims, who resigned from the party in protest at the failure to expel Lord Rennard, told The Telegraph: ” The fact that he has the confidence and the arrogance to stand for election does not surprise me, but it disappoints me enormously.
“This is exactly why I left the party, I knew this kind of behavior would continue and they haven’t changed. It’s very bizarre and just unbelievable.”
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In April 2013, Scotland Yard launched an investigation into the claim against the party’s former policy chief but dropped the case six months later stating he would not face any criminal charges.
Lord Rennard, who initially refused to apologise subsequently issued an apology for inadvertently encroaching on the personal space of the women.
A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: “This is a vote that happened independently in the House of Lords, this is not something that anyone else in the party gets involved in.”
The peer is expected to attend the first meeting before the end of the year.
Helena Morrissey, who investigated the party’s processes and culture after a series of serious allegations were made against Lord Rennard, reported in 2014: “At this point every investigation has concluded with no further action to be taken against Lord Rennard.
“The process over the past nearly two years – conducted according to the prevailing rules – has run its course and although the outcome is a source of great frustration to some, I believe that the Party can only move on if that outcome is accepted.
Speaking during his election campaign to become the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron said that if he was elected he had “no intention of appointing him to any role in the party.”
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A spokesman for Lord Rennard at the time said all allegations investigated were thoroughly, inlcuding a police investigation which concluded there would be no charges.
They added: “In addition, there was a lengthy investigation by independent QC Alistair Webster. He also concluded that there was insufficient evidence even to proceed to a disciplinary hearing. The Liberal Democrat Party has now dealt with all the allegations and the matter is closed.”