Nick Clegg's leadership of the Liberal Democrats was called into question today, as the party's president said it had 'screwed up' the handling of sex assault claims against Lord Rennard.
Mr Clegg today insisted he had 'nothing to hide', after dramatically changing his story over what he knew about allegations made by women against Lord Rennard, the party's former chief executive.
The Lib Dems face accusations of a ‘classic cover-up’ after Mr Clegg admitted he has known for five years that Lord Rennard faced 'indirect and non-specific' claims of molesting women.
In a stunning about-face, Mr Clegg said he asked his chief of staff, Danny Alexander, to probe ‘concerns about Chris Rennard’s conduct’ in 2008.
The Deputy Prime Minister conceded he accepted the denials of the then Lib Dem chief executive at face value and allowed him to retire on health grounds a year later.
Facing a barrage of criticism for his handling of the allegations, which date back up to a decade, Mr Clegg today sought to get a grip on the crisis.
He said: 'I totally understand people have got lots and lots of questions but I hope I have given a full, frank, honest account.
'I have got nothing to hide, the party has nothing to hide. We have now got to listen to the women who feel they weren't properly listened to and get to the truth and that is what we will do."
'I’ve got absolutely nothing to hide. Why would I?' he told BBC Radio Solent. 'I actually happen to know some of these women very well, one of them worked for me. I spoke to her just last night, she never said anything about me to this until now.
'The problem is, as I said yesterday, until last week no specific allegations were put to me and we acted on general concerns which had been expressed some time ago, but of course, now that those general concerns have evolved into specific allegations, we can act, and we will.
But Mr Clegg's confident assertion that he had acted properly at all times was immediately undermined when party president Tim Farron admitted the Lib Dems had failed to protect members of staff.
Mr Faron told BBC Radio 4: 'The one thing I probably can tell you without going through due process is that we screwed this up as a party.
'There are individuals out there who we have a duty of care towards who we did not fulfil that duty of care to them and that is something we have to learn from, apologise for, and make sure never happens again.
[b style="font-size: 1.4em; font-weight: bold"][b style="font-size: 1.4em; font-weight: bold"][b style="font-size: 1.4em; font-weight: bold"]'The Liberals have been sitting on their hands and on these allegations for years but also in recent days. This has all the hallmarks of a classic cover-up. It is important for everyone that the police look at this to clarify whether it’s appropriate for them to investigate'[/b][/b][/b]
Labour MP John Mann
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2283916/We-screwed-Lib-Dem-president-Tim-Farron-slams-handling-sex-allegations-Lord-Rennard-Nick-Clegg-insists-hide.html#ixzz2aiZ80nYA
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This comments poster Raymond, Belfast, 25/2/2013 3:29 says it all
As a former Detective of 26 years I can tell you that lies will catch you out, and it takes you to be a good liar to maintain one. Multiply the number of people involved, and the harder it is to maintain the lie. Mr Cleggs role will be unravelled by the police if they investigate a complaint, as will Lord Rennard's, but just from reading what has been written in this article by the DM reporters, it shows how easy it is to reveal inconsistencies, and I believe that Mr Clegg's denials will be his undoing, because they don't stand up to scrutiny or investigation. Paying complainant's off and gagging them lawfully doesn't sit comfortably with not knowing of specific allegations. 'Beware your lies will catch you out', as true today as the day it was first quoted in Genesis 38, and the Detective's mantra
Along the lines of - now let's hear what you have to say. REMEMBER make it LOGICAL if you want me to BELIEVE you.
Clegg OUT. Should have taken action at the time and PLEASE Cleggie, no more I am sorry videos.
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