Monday, 20 January 2014

Tim Farron Explains Why Rennard Lost the Lib Dem Whip

Lord Rennard has been cooking up a media storm for the Lib Dems.

Its not been a great week for the Lib Dems has it. Lord Rennard was let off the hook after complaints of sexual misconduct to several women. The old boys in the Lib Dems just didn't understand the moral problems with the peers promiscuous behaviour. At least Nick Clegg realises this is a political disaster and has now withdrawn Lord Rennard's Lib Dem whip, although legally speaking I'm not sure that it is allowed.

This has led Tim Farron, the Lib Dem President, to take action and he has emailed all Lib Dems explaining why Lord Rennard has had the whip taken away. He has emailed Seb explaining the situation.

Dear Sebastian,

It has been a difficult few days for the party. Many of you have contacted me directly to express your anger and disappointment at Lord Rennard's refusal to apologise following the recommendations of the investigation into his behaviour. As President, I wanted you to hear from me.

Along with Nick Clegg, I made my view absolutely clear - Lord Rennard's refusal to apologise is unacceptable. Most importantly, Lord Rennard is actively rejecting calls to apologise from party members and is refusing to comply with a formal party body.

This refusal was grounds for further action.

Today it has been decided that Lord Rennard's membership of the Liberal Democrats will be suspended, and that he will be subject to a fresh investigation over his refusal to apologise.

This decision was taken by the Regional Parties’ Committee (the body which adjudicates on internal disciplinary matters in England) following a large number of complaints from party members. This decision means he will not be able to sit as a Liberal Democrat in the House of Lords, and will not be allowed to sit on our party's Federal Policy Committee.

I understand why some people have chosen to strongly defend Lord Rennard. He was instrumental in much of our electoral success, and has given many years of service. However, everyone in the party has a responsibility to treat others with respect, and no length of service can or should lessen that obligation.

No doubt some of you will want to share your thoughts on this issue with me directly. I hope that you do.

As President, I want to make sure that you always know that your thoughts, feelings, and feedback matter to me.

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for everything you do for the party.

Very best wishes, Tim

I'm sure Nick Clegg is having a great start to the week.

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