Coffee House

Nick Clegg needs a QC to address the Rennard crisis

24 February 2013

‘What did he know and when did he know it’ is one of the staples of modern journalism and it is the question Nick Clegg is struggling to answer over the Lord Rennard allegations. Before continuing, it should be stressed that Rennard denies the allegations made against him. But the situation is fast turning into a political crisis for the Liberal Democrats, it is splashed across a whole host of newspaper front pages this morning. (Michael Fabricant, who is coordinating the parliamentary part of the Tory by-election effort, has already tweeted a picture of Tory activists brandishing these front pages in Eastleigh.)

At the moment, the Liberal Democrats are relying on two internal inquiries to deal with the matter. I suspect this will not be enough. Clegg would be well advised to appoint an independent QC, someone with no ties to the party or its leadership, to lead an investigation into the matter.

Comments on this post have been closed for legal reasons.

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  • David Gosling.

    Just call for a General Election and that will solve the problem they are not fit to hold office in Parliament

  • Ron Todd

    This is the party that would claim to be more concerned about womans
    rights than the rest of us. The party would claim to be more open and
    more against cover ups than the rest of us. So when one of their senior
    male members is accused of taking advantage of lower ranking female
    party workers and when their party leader is accused of knowing about
    the claims and doing nothing they have three choices they can have a
    fully independant inquirey with everybody involved asked to cooperate
    fully. They can admit guilt or they can accept that they will look like
    hypocrites because they are hypocrits.

  • Bluesman

    Where’s Leveson when you need him? Eh, Clegg.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    The frothings of journalists put aside, one thing is clear. Everybody, no matter what the organisation, will always cover it up. The hope that it can be contained with no damage to the organisation always outweighs the desire to come clean and do what is right. Always. The BBC/Savile, the Libdems here, the numerous catholic problems with misbehaving priests, whoever you like. The bureaucracy will cover up absolutely anything rather than look bad, and will always deceive itself into thinking it is doing the right thing. And whoever you are, you would do it too, to protect your family, your business, your tribe of whatever nature.

    That anyfool is well-named, n’est-ce pas?

    • John_Page

      They don’t do it because they think it’s the right thing. They do it because they can protect themselves without running any risk. S*d what’s right.

    • Daniel Maris

      You can add in the SWP – they had a case recently didn’t they which went to trial by comrades and it was nicely brushed under the red carpet.

      • Daniel Maris

        And now I remember it, the WRP – Vanessa Redgrave’s party – was finally split by allegations against the Great Leader Comrade Healy, which had been kept out of public view for many years.

    • anyfool

      That anyfool is well-named isn’t it,

      That does not sound as pretentious nor does it sound right, but besides can you really equate the covering up of child raping priests, of child rapists like Savile and the Muslim paedophiles with covering up a fat fool putting his hands on a couple of lib dem women’s legs, fainting fits all round at the pub tonight the order of the day.

  • John_Page

    Where is any Lib Dem indignation over the NHS killing and mistreating hundreds or thousands of people? No, they’re much more exercised by their articulate political aspirants being touched up. Can we have a sense of proportion from them, please?

    • Tom Tom

      It is all part of the general sense that Power is Without Responsibility or Accountability. Psychopaths and Sociopaths at every level exploiting situations for personal ends. Whether Cyril Smith or NHS Administrator – it is the use of Power to serve Self

      • FMarion

        Tom Tom: Precisely. The issue is whether the parties are run by entitled hacks who believe that ordinary rules don’t apply to them. And, if your politicians are anything like our politicians in America, the answer is probably “yes.” Episodes like this are an opportunity to convince the political class that the people are going to hold them accountable. Those of you who are Lib Dems ought to take the lead in demanding to know if the accusations are true, and if they are true, how widespread the knowledge of his conduct was why the accusers didn’t come forward until now. There will be short term pain, but your party will be better off for it in the long run.

  • anyfool

    What did he know and when did he know it’
    Does anyone seriously think the normal people in the UK care a jot about whether Clogg knew about a groper or not.
    If it was serious the women concerned would have went to the police, if it was serious and they did not, then they put self advancement before what was right, either way not very ethical of either party.

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