The politics of sexual harassment

The Lord Rennard ‘saga’ continues to play out in the news as he announces his intention to take legal action against the Liberal party if they don’t lift his suspension following an investigation into alleged sexual harassment of four female party members.

The investigation was conducted in accordance with the party’s membership rules and headed by an independent criminal barrister. After gathering evidence, the enquiry recommended that Lord Rennard should apologise to the women involved for any distress caused but found it was ‘unlikely that it could be established beyond reasonable doubt that he had intended to act in an indecent or sexually inappropriate way’.

This was an interesting approach and it has come under fire from many quarters. Firstly, it reflected the criminal test of guilt, (beyond reasonable doubt) and secondly it focused on Lord Rennard’s intentions rather than how his behaviour had affected the women involved…

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