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Lord Rennard: Good news, but MORE questions

February 24th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized by

Good news from the Party today that the investigation will NOW be “independently chaired”. Why such an obvious decision was not easily made at the outset is concerning. From what I can gather, they seem to have taken this decision without any conversation with the women concerned [but will happily be stand corrected]. But it is good to hear that our concerns (and others) were listened to. Special mention here goes to Stephen Tall , who piled in behind us on Friday. No news yet on who the “independent Chair” is to be or how they will be appointed.

Questions: Following suggestions that the person at the end of the “whistle-blower” hotline appears to be too intimately connected to the party, on too many levels. I assume that the hotline will now likewise be put in the hands of someone out side of the party. And quickly.

This isn’t to suggest any aspersions about the fair-mindedness of either Tim Farron (who was originally slated to head up the inquiry) or Kate Parminter (who manages the rather under-advertised hotline), but surely these things properly need to be placed under the command of those who don’t have a long history at the senior levels of the party?

Finally, it has to be asked, for the umpteenth time, who exactly is managing the party PR machine? Had the party line on Friday not been so hapless, some of the weekend’s newspaper speculation, and embarrassing statements from Cable and Browne could probably have been avoided.

Added to that, the statement made by Nick Clegg this evening, and the press office follow up,  seem to leave more questions than answers. Nick’s tone of indignation was utterly inappropriate. And he is already having to issue clarifications about the difference between his knowledge and his office’s. This is exactly the sort of running commentary that he said, rather optimistically, he wished to avoid. He is unlikely to be able to do so over the coming days.

Update: We are delighted that the party has announced that a new independent whistleblower group will deal with complaints: Telephone number 020 7404 6609

It has also announced that it has appointed Alistair Webster QC to lead the formal internal investigation under the Party’s disciplinary rules into the specific allegations made about the conduct of Lord Rennard.

Finally the party has said that it will also be announcing an independent Chair for the investigation into party procedures and to thoroughly examine how allegations made in the past have been handled.


3 Responses to “Lord Rennard: Good news, but MORE questions”

  1. Rosemary Williams Says:

    Excellent piece from Angela Harbutt. I think people need to be aware of what is being said elsewhere. Just as a tiny example, I posted the following response on a small but fairly well-read blog the other day. Admittedly it was posted in that half-light between anger and alcohol – but it is what many women (and to be be fair, some men) are thinking. Here it is:

    “‘You’ll have read the news by now, I expect, about Lord Rennard.’

    Oh yes, indeedy.
    He is, from what I’ve read so far, what we women call a “groper”. A nasty, slimy, probably can’t get it up or keep it up groper. Most of us women have met many of these arseholes over the years, at school, at work, in the pub. And sometimes just randomly while shopping or on a bus or train, one of these slimeball slugs will insinuate his hand somewhere it has no right to be, while hissing “Wanna fuck?” in your ear.
    The appropriate answer would be a very direct kick in the balls, or the true answer of ‘Even if I did want to fuck, it certainly wouldn’t be with you, you grossly unattractive yard of piss’.
    We women tended not to do this, depending on the situation, because (a) they might turn violent and (b) we would lose our jobs and (c) those around us would question whether we were frigid and/or had lost our sense of humour.
    I am fucking delighted that this slimeball has been outed. And I am not at all surprised that he is connected with ASH, except I do think they will be as embarrassed as everyone else, to be fair. They should never have just gone so greedily for any peer in a storm.
    I expect he will tumble. The amount of fuck that I give about that can be measured in nanograms.”

    Sorry for the swearing (it was a different venue), but you need to be aware what is being said. And deal with it.

  2. Alex Agius Says:

    Perhaps I am mistaken but I think the investigation into the sexual harassment allegations made against Chris Rennard are still going to be investigated by Tim Farron (i.e. not independently investigated)

    And that it is the second investigation into the parties processes how it handles these sorts of complaints that are going to be independently investigated.

  3. Jack Hughes Says:

    Get a grip, Angela.

    These investigations are not a prelude to action: they are a substitute for action.

    The report will be the standard template from “… mistakes were made… imperfect procedures … lessons must be learned …” just like the Baby P enquiry etc. Nothing will change.

    The problems are not lack of procedures nor lack of training. They are more fundamental. The people involved are assholes. The pervy lord is an asshole. The minister for equal women is an asshole. The former chief whip is an asshole.