Lord Rennard won’t return to front bench, Vince Cable says

Lord Rennard is a former chief executive of the Liberal DemocratsImage copyright Getty Images

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard will not be returning to the party’s front bench, leader Sir Vince Cable says.

Sir Vince said he wanted the party to “move on” from the harassment claims made by female party members against the peer.

In 2014 a Lib Dem inquiry concluded the claims were “broadly credible” but not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Lord Rennard apologised if he had “inadvertently encroached” upon “personal space”.

A year later Lord Rennard, a former chief executive and election campaign director for the Lib Dems, was elected by his fellow Lib Dem peers to the party’s Federal Executive, only to decide to quit a week later “in the interests of party unity”.

Asked about the peer’s future position, Sir Vince, who took over as party leader in July, said: “He has no role whatever advising me or as a spokesman for the party – and I have no intention of going down that road.”

Asked by Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 live if Lord Rennard could return to the front bench in future, he replied: “No. I’ve ruled that out, where I’m concerned.”

Image copyright PA

He added: “He clearly is the focus of a great deal of critical comment. I want the party to move on… I don’t want every conversation to go back to what happened 10 years ago with him.

“His position is not a comfortable one, but he is still a party member and I think that’s where it should rest.

“I have no intention of bringing him back into a leadership role or a spokesmanship role.”

Sir Vince described Lord Rennard as “an ordinary party member” and said he did not regret the fact he had canvassed for him in June’s general election.


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