MP 'told Clegg of Rennard concerns'

Braintree and Witham Times: Lord Rennard denies allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women Lord Rennard denies allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women

A female former Liberal Democrat MP has said she told Nick Clegg about allegations surrounding the party's then chief executive Lord Rennard shortly after he became leader in 2007.

Mr Clegg has said he heard only "indirect and non-specific concerns" about the Lib Dem peer until last week, when a Channel 4 News investigation alleged that he had behaved improperly towards women in the party on a number of occasions.

But Sandra Gidley, who was MP for Romsey for a decade before losing her seat in 2010, said she hoped her comments would jog the Deputy Prime Minister's memory about their conversation.

Asked by The Daily Telegraph whether she told Mr Clegg "face-to-face" about the allegations, she replied: "Yes, that is true, but at this point I don't want to go any further. I am hoping his memory might be jogged. Shall we leave it at that?"

Ms Gidley later said she did not have precise details of alleged incidents when she approached the Lib Dem leader.

In a statement issued by the party, she said: "I spoke to Nick Clegg about general concerns. I didn't know of any specific incidents and neither did he."

A spokesman for Mr Clegg said: "Sandra Gidley once raised general concerns with Nick Clegg about Lord Rennard's conduct. She did not know of or raise specific allegations. As Nick Clegg has said, he was aware of general concerns which were acted upon by this then chief of staff, Danny Alexander."

Lord Rennard, who stepped down as chief executive on health grounds in 2009, has said he is ready to "co-operate with any properly-constituted inquiry" into allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

The peer issued a strenuous fresh denial of any wrong-doing as senior Liberal Democrats met Metropolitan Police officers to discuss the case. Scotland Yard said the meeting was held to help ascertain whether any criminal activity had taken place, adding: "That work continues."

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