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Clegg Accused of Failing to Protect Women in Liberal Democrats

Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg came under attack today after his Liberal Democrat Party announced no action would be taken against a lawmaker accused of sexual harassment.

Chris Rennard, a member of the unelected House of Lords, was suspended from the Liberal Democrats in January after refusing to apologize to female activists who had complained about his behavior.

Late yesterday, the party said the suspension was now lifted because Rennard had apologized to the women, saying he “may well have encroached upon personal space” and that this was “inadvertent.”

“I’m quite flabbergasted but I’m really not that surprised,” one of the women who complained about Rennard, Susan Gaszczak, told BBC Radio. “We’re all volunteers and we haven’t been protected.”

Clegg said in a statement yesterday that the party had taken a “hard look in the mirror” since the allegations were made public. An internal inquiry in January found that while there wasn’t enough evidence of misconduct by Rennard to constitute a disciplinary offense, he should say sorry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net Andrew Atkinson, Eddie Buckle

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