The Liberal Democrats are to change their party constitution in an attempt to draw a line under a sexual harassment scandal which has rocked the party. After an internal report criticised Nick Clegg and equalities minister Jo Swinson for their handling of ‘sex pest’ allegations against Lord Rennard, the following clause will be voted in by members at party conference in September:
“As a Member of the Liberal Democrats, you must treat others with respect and must not bully, harass or intimidate any Party member, member of Party staff, member of Parliamentary staff, Party volunteer or member of the public. Such behaviour will be considered to be bringing the Party into disrepute.”
Oddly enough, the amendments don’t mention anything about covering up the scandal and lying about it on the radio.
Top Liberal Democrats linked to the cover-up of alleged sexual harassment by former party chief exec Lord Rennard are to address a party rally on, erm, International Women’s Day. In an ironic turn of events, the gathering on “meaningful gender equality” will be addressed by Nick Clegg, who despite previous denials was forced to admit he had known about Rennard’s behaviour for five years, and women’s minister Jo Swinson, who has been accused of “not acting” over allegations.
Page 24 of the party’s spring conference guide:
The Liberal Democrats and our predecessors have long championed this agenda. Whether it be in the campaign for women’s suffrage, legislating to recognise economic and legal rights, demanding equal pay, fighting for the right to choose, and challenging continuing discrimination and barriers to equality.
One barrier to equality being an alleged of a “sex-for-favours” culture in which female candidates and staff were pressured into sex.
The training event ‘Staying out of jail’ also makes a reappearance on page 30.
Too late for Chris Huhne, though.
With Vince Cable’s engulfed by a scandal that could end his political career, one would assume his bag carrier Parliamentary Private Secretary Jo Swinson had more pressing concerns than Christmas trees on the parliamentary estate:
Perhaps Swinson should take a leaf out of her boss’ book with some injudicious honesty:
“La, la la! This isn’t happening!”