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Saturday 23 August 2014

Pressure mounts on Clegg over sex claim response

Andrew Woodcock

Published 26/02/2013 | 04:00

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NICK Clegg is under mounting pressure over his handling of the UK's Liberal Democrat sex abuse scandal after it emerged that a pregnant whistleblower was forced out of the party and made to sign a gagging order.

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Helen Jardine-Brown, the party's former head of fundraising, told senior Liberal Democrats four years ago of allegations about Lord Rennard, the party's former chief executive.

Officials told her that Nick Clegg would call her directly to discuss the allegations, but she never heard from him.

Less than two months later her post at the party was axed, shortly after she told her employers she was pregnant. She eventually reached a £50,000 settlement which was conditional on her silence.

Scandal

The Deputy Prime Minister insisted last night that he had "nothing to hide" over the scandal, which threatens to undermine his leadership. But the party persident, Tim farron, a possible leadership rival to Mr Clegg, described the situation as a "screw up".

Lord Rennard, the former chief executive of the party, has been accused of sexually harassing up to a dozen women at Liberal Democrat events and functions. He has strongly denied the allegations.

Last night, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that they have been in contact with Liberal Democrat officials over allegations to "ascertain if criminal activity has taken place".

Irish Independent

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