Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, commenting on Nick Clegg’s comments on Lord Rennard, said:
“The Lib Dem women who complained about Lord Rennard did a brave thing in coming forward and making an official complaint. But now they are being hung out to dry and accused of suffering from "distress".
“They have complained about inappropriate behaviour but Clegg says unless proved beyond reasonable doubt – i.e. that Rennard committed a criminal offence - the Lib Dems can take no action. This is a cop out. No sexual harassment complainant has to show a criminal offence to get action in the workplace. The Lib Dem inquiry is a botched job. Nick Clegg must get off the fence otherwise it will send out a signal to any woman who suffers sexual harassment that she needn't bother to complain.
“This is important for the wider issue of women who suffer harassment. Women who complain about sexist behaviour are entitled to be listened to and have their complaints resolved - not to be left to hang out to dry.
“An apology because "they have suffered distress" is not good enough. Rennard sits on the policy committee that decides the Lib Dem manifesto. If he engaged in sexual misconduct he has no place in the leadership of any political party - apology or not.
“Nick Clegg is hiding behind the Lib Dem bureaucracy. He must take action. He's the leader of the party. Only he can do it.”