British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg denied participation in a sexual harassment cover-up, Reuters reported on Sunday, February 24.
Clegg released a statement admitting he was aware of “indirect and non-specific concerns” about former Liberal Democrat campaign strategist Chris Rennard, who was accused of “inappropriately touching female party members and activists several years ago,” according to a report by Britain’s Channel 4.
But while he was “aware” of the concerns, Clegg said he was “angry and outraged at the suggestion that I would not have acted if these allegations had been put to me,” rejecting cover-up allegations outright.
In a statement reported by Sky News, Clegg revealed his then-chief of staff Danny Alexander “put these concerns to Chris Rennard and warned him that any such behavior was wholly unacceptable.”
“Chris Rennard categorically denied that he had behaved inappropriately and he continues to do so. He subsequently resigned as chief executive on health grounds,” Clegg explained.
Despite Clegg’s explanation, Reuters noted, the Lib Dem party is “floundering” in opinion polls and media attention as well as pressure from the opposition Labor party is not likely to help.
Hearing of Lib Dem plans to “investigate” the allegations and their source, Labor lawmaker Bridget Phillipson encouraged Clegg and other senior Liberal Democrat lawmakers and officials to “come clean about what they knew and what action was taken about these serious allegations.”
Phillipson, calling for an independent investigation, added that the “series of allegations are too serious to allow the Liberal Democrats to investigate themselves.”
Sexual harassment allegations have long plagued politicians and are usually followed by subsequent denials.
Most recently Herman Cain, who saw support from within his own party wane during the 2012 Republican primaries, fought multiple claims of sexual misconduct.
Popular US President Bill Clinton also had to deflect more than one allegation during his time in office and as governor of Arkansas.
Do you think Clegg participated in a cover-up, or is he telling the truth?
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