THE BLOG

The Lord Rennard Saga Has Greater Implications for the Country

22/01/2014 16:01 GMT | Updated 24/03/2014 09:59 GMT

The Lord Rennard saga has greater implications for the country than simply exposing what he did or didn't do.

Nick Clegg famously took a swipe at "the self-appointed detectives in the Press" in relation to the allegations against his party's former Chief Executive.

And yet he believes Lord Rennard has an issue he should apologise for. Surely that alone means the Press acted in the public interest?

But the wider implications are huge. Let's list them here:

• Nick Clegg feels there is a case for Rennard to apologise for, yet he won't tell the public what that case is

• The entire investigation only took place after media exposure

• The probe was held completely in secret so even the man at the centre of it can't publicly defend himself

• If Nick Clegg can't lead openly, and is unable sort out this domestic issue within his party, what chance is there that he leads the country well as a deputy PM?

The allegations were first aired by Channel Four News and the main claims against Lord Rennard have been made by four female Liberal Democrat activists.

It was claimed he had abused his position as a senior figure in the party by sexually touching them or propositioned them between 2003 and 2007.

In total at least 10 women alleged that he had behaved inappropriately towards them, although not all have agreed to be identified.

We should not forget this was an issue the Lib Dems did their best to ignore. We need the political class to be transparent, honest and beyond reproach, yet this sorry mess has added to the suspicion that the Lib Dems are just not up to the job of Governing and Leadership.

Rennard - and I don't want to have any sympathy for him - has not been given the basic right of seeing the report.

That cannot be fair and proper. In that circumstance, it is no wonder he won't apologise.

To add to the melting pot which has caused huge problems within the Lib Dems, he has now started legal proceedings to challenge the disciplinary action by the party over the harassment claims. The disciplinary action saw him suspended him from the party.

With the Rennard situation rumbling, we also have the separate scenario in which David Cameron will not openly explain who has visited his country home and Chequers. All things consider, you understand why the public mistrust our politicians and more to the point those in Government.

Why is Cameron shy? One can only assume he is guilty of entertaining someone he should not. I believe he does leadership better than Clegg or Ed Miliband, but it seems that he only wants to lead where the issue is not on his own doorstep. Remember Lord Leveson? The inquiry was called after Miliband raised issues about the ethics of the Press.

The public will accept our politicians make mistakes, like we all do. What they will not accept is cover up, indecision and a lack of transparency.

The Press have done a good job by bringing the lurid allegations about Rennard into the public domain.

The least we can expect of our leaders is a clear and honest conclusion to the matter.