Senior Lib Dem, Susan Gaszczak, from Watford says Lord Rennard apology 'does not go far enough'

Senior Lib Dem, Susan Gaszczak, from Watford says Lord Rennard apology 'does not go far enough'

Senior Lib Dem, Susan Gaszczak, from Watford says Lord Rennard apology 'does not go far enough'

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Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A senior Liberal Democrat from West Watford has said the apology from Lord Rennard over accusations of sexual harassment "does not go far enough".

Susan Gaszczak called on the party to “show leadership” over the allegations the peer's behaviour towards women activists.

However 42-year-old welcomed the fact Lord Rennard had moved away from strenuously denying he had done anything inappropriate.

The peer issued an apology expressing regret for any “harm or embarrassment” caused by his behaviour in an attempt to bring “closure” to the episode.

Ms Gaszczak, who is on the party’s Federal Conference Committee, said: “It is not a great apology. I welcome the fact it is a far move from strenuously denying everything, saying this never happened and almost calling us fantasists.

“It is a far move from what he has been saying for the last 15 months. So in that way it is good but it does not go far enough.

“Maybe it is time the party showed some leadership in this process.”

Lord Rennard, a former chief executive of the party, has been suspended from the Liberal Democrats over allegations made by a number of female activists.

An internal party investigation by a barrister, Alistair Webster QC, last year found evidence of inappropriate behaviour by the peer, however said it could not prove this beyond reasonable doubt.

Until now the lord has outright denied any wrongdoing. However this week he issued an apology to four women, including Ms Gaszczak, for any behaviour “which made them feel uncomfortable.”

A letter from his solicitors said: “He hereby expresses his regret for any harm or embarrassment caused to them or anything which made them feel uncomfortable.

“Lord Rennard wishes to make it absolutely clear that it was never his intention to cause distress or concern to them by anything that he ever said or did. He also hopes that they will accept that the events of the last fourteen months have been a most unhappy experience for him, his family and friends and for the party.”

Comments (16)

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12:52pm Fri 30 May 14

Andrew1963 says...

Lord rennards apology was staged managed by Clegg. the timing is deliberate to distract attention from Lord Oakenshott's resignation. Lord knows what the next Liberal Democrat end of the pier show will be.
Lord rennards apology was staged managed by Clegg. the timing is deliberate to distract attention from Lord Oakenshott's resignation. Lord knows what the next Liberal Democrat end of the pier show will be. Andrew1963
  • Score: -4

1:02pm Fri 30 May 14

garston tony says...

Who is this lady and what is a federal conference committee?

Boring boring boring
Who is this lady and what is a federal conference committee? Boring boring boring garston tony
  • Score: -3

1:17pm Fri 30 May 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

It's the LibDems trying to look relevant. Someone pass them a pothole to stare at.
It's the LibDems trying to look relevant. Someone pass them a pothole to stare at. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -14

5:19pm Fri 30 May 14

Feel Coax says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
It's the LibDems trying to look relevant. Someone pass them a pothole to stare at.
Hasn't a new UKIP councillor already been suspended for anti-gay comments?.
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: It's the LibDems trying to look relevant. Someone pass them a pothole to stare at.[/p][/quote]Hasn't a new UKIP councillor already been suspended for anti-gay comments?. Feel Coax
  • Score: 8

5:22pm Fri 30 May 14

Feel Coax says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
It's the LibDems trying to look relevant. Someone pass them a pothole to stare at.
Hasn't a new UKIP councillor already been suspended for anti-gay comments?.
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: It's the LibDems trying to look relevant. Someone pass them a pothole to stare at.[/p][/quote]Hasn't a new UKIP councillor already been suspended for anti-gay comments?. Feel Coax
  • Score: 9

8:30pm Fri 30 May 14

Nascot says...

Feel Coax wrote:
Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
It's the LibDems trying to look relevant. Someone pass them a pothole to stare at.
Hasn't a new UKIP councillor already been suspended for anti-gay comments?.
Yes.
UKIP councillor Dave Small suspended by party over racism claims. Elected Thursday 22nd, reported as suspended on BBC 27th.
http://www.bbc.co.uk
/news/uk-england-her
eford-worcester-2756
5266
[quote][p][bold]Feel Coax[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: It's the LibDems trying to look relevant. Someone pass them a pothole to stare at.[/p][/quote]Hasn't a new UKIP councillor already been suspended for anti-gay comments?.[/p][/quote]Yes. UKIP councillor Dave Small suspended by party over racism claims. Elected Thursday 22nd, reported as suspended on BBC 27th. http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-england-her eford-worcester-2756 5266 Nascot
  • Score: 7

12:12am Sat 31 May 14

Cuetip says...

Nascot wrote:
Feel Coax wrote:
Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
It's the LibDems trying to look relevant. Someone pass them a pothole to stare at.
Hasn't a new UKIP councillor already been suspended for anti-gay comments?.
Yes.
UKIP councillor Dave Small suspended by party over racism claims. Elected Thursday 22nd, reported as suspended on BBC 27th.
http://www.bbc.co.uk

/news/uk-england-her

eford-worcester-2756

5266
nascot why don't you look in the mirror and see if your party is whiter than white.
The selection process in parties is more about exclusion and preserving the status quo and lip service is paid diversity and broadening the appeal to those at the bottom of the pile who feel disengaged. As the spate of recent abuse cases and the continuing MP expense scandals clearly shows, the powerful can live above the law because they have source credibility.
The tribal party member looking for exclusion guidance need to look no further than the present Cabinet to see how the glass ceiling is firmly in place with regard to any concerns about equal opportunities.

Any claims about diversity is always about finding someone to add a bit of colour but ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer’.
[quote][p][bold]Nascot[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Feel Coax[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: It's the LibDems trying to look relevant. Someone pass them a pothole to stare at.[/p][/quote]Hasn't a new UKIP councillor already been suspended for anti-gay comments?.[/p][/quote]Yes. UKIP councillor Dave Small suspended by party over racism claims. Elected Thursday 22nd, reported as suspended on BBC 27th. http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-england-her eford-worcester-2756 5266[/p][/quote]nascot why don't you look in the mirror and see if your party is whiter than white. The selection process in parties is more about exclusion and preserving the status quo and lip service is paid diversity and broadening the appeal to those at the bottom of the pile who feel disengaged. As the spate of recent abuse cases and the continuing MP expense scandals clearly shows, the powerful can live above the law because they have source credibility. The tribal party member looking for exclusion guidance need to look no further than the present Cabinet to see how the glass ceiling is firmly in place with regard to any concerns about equal opportunities. Any claims about diversity is always about finding someone to add a bit of colour but ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer’. Cuetip
  • Score: 4

7:26am Sat 31 May 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

We have in UKIP some people who have distasteful views. We didn't know they were like that and thanks to our friends in the press and other parties they have been identified to UKIP whence we promptly throw them out.

That's what any good party would do. Not so the other parties, but it is what other good parties would do. Labour are having racism problems, as do the Tories, whereas the LibDems tend to go for complete nutters and sex scandals, or your more typical stab each other in the back politics currently playing out in the media.

Before these people were identified to UKIP as having strange views we didn't know there was anything odd about them. Once we knew, we chucked them straight out.

Fair enough you might think.

Let's just a take a little look at the other parties.

This creep Lord touchup was known about in the Liberal Democrats for a long time, it had been going on for years. Complaints had been made by several different women in the party and they had been covered up and ignored. The prominent MP JO Swinson did nothing about it even though she was in charge of the complaints. Once it reached the public everyone in the party denied any knowledge of the toxic issue.

She let these women down. Nick Clegg let these women down.

The rot in the LibDems goes right to the top.

Did they chuck out Jo Swinson?

Did they chuck out Nick Clegg?

Did they chuck out Lord touchup?

No. They should have done but instead they covered it up. They pretended it wasn't happening. They let down their own people like the "prominent LibDem" in the picture (who, incidentally is so prominent that no-one has ever heard of her or the prominent committee she is on).

No party is perfect.

You can't blame a party for having oddballs in it if the party does not know about them. Particularly if the oddballs in question came from other parties in the first place.

What you can blame a party for is having such people and then doing nothing about it.

UKIP chucks their odd people out.

LibDems cover theirs up. Lord Touchup, Cyril Smith,.....

Labour ignores theirs. Racist accusations in Harrow and other places. Ex-Nazi elected in Milton Keynes. Councillor who has sex with aliens (I kid you not, he's said all this in TV interviews)

Conservatives ignore theirs. They put up an ex-BNP candidate for election in 2014.

So, only one party does the decent thing. Only one party refuses to accept ex-BNP members. Only one party kicks out racists and nutcases. Only one party is called UKIP.

For the others, it's business as usual. Cover up and move on.

If the LibDems had any decency this Lord would have been kicked out years ago. No-one will be surprised to find out the LibDems are more interested in power than decency.

There are many other scandals of huge proportions in the other parties yet the focus seems to be on UKIP. Fair-minded people will recognise what is going on. That's why people kept the faith and voted UKIP in such numbers that we won our first National election. Even better news is that the voters who voted UKIP are now overwhelmingly saying they will vote UKIP in 2015.

The future looks rosy for UKIP no matter what the other parties throw at us.
We have in UKIP some people who have distasteful views. We didn't know they were like that and thanks to our friends in the press and other parties they have been identified to UKIP whence we promptly throw them out. That's what any good party would do. Not so the other parties, but it is what other good parties would do. Labour are having racism problems, as do the Tories, whereas the LibDems tend to go for complete nutters and sex scandals, or your more typical stab each other in the back politics currently playing out in the media. Before these people were identified to UKIP as having strange views we didn't know there was anything odd about them. Once we knew, we chucked them straight out. Fair enough you might think. Let's just a take a little look at the other parties. This creep Lord touchup was known about in the Liberal Democrats for a long time, it had been going on for years. Complaints had been made by several different women in the party and they had been covered up and ignored. The prominent MP JO Swinson did nothing about it even though she was in charge of the complaints. Once it reached the public everyone in the party denied any knowledge of the toxic issue. She let these women down. Nick Clegg let these women down. The rot in the LibDems goes right to the top. Did they chuck out Jo Swinson? Did they chuck out Nick Clegg? Did they chuck out Lord touchup? No. They should have done but instead they covered it up. They pretended it wasn't happening. They let down their own people like the "prominent LibDem" in the picture (who, incidentally is so prominent that no-one has ever heard of her or the prominent committee she is on). No party is perfect. You can't blame a party for having oddballs in it if the party does not know about them. Particularly if the oddballs in question came from other parties in the first place. What you can blame a party for is having such people and then doing nothing about it. UKIP chucks their odd people out. LibDems cover theirs up. Lord Touchup, Cyril Smith,..... Labour ignores theirs. Racist accusations in Harrow and other places. Ex-Nazi elected in Milton Keynes. Councillor who has sex with aliens (I kid you not, he's said all this in TV interviews) Conservatives ignore theirs. They put up an ex-BNP candidate for election in 2014. So, only one party does the decent thing. Only one party refuses to accept ex-BNP members. Only one party kicks out racists and nutcases. Only one party is called UKIP. For the others, it's business as usual. Cover up and move on. If the LibDems had any decency this Lord would have been kicked out years ago. No-one will be surprised to find out the LibDems are more interested in power than decency. There are many other scandals of huge proportions in the other parties yet the focus seems to be on UKIP. Fair-minded people will recognise what is going on. That's why people kept the faith and voted UKIP in such numbers that we won our first National election. Even better news is that the voters who voted UKIP are now overwhelmingly saying they will vote UKIP in 2015. The future looks rosy for UKIP no matter what the other parties throw at us. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -5

7:46am Sat 31 May 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Talking of unscrupulous politicians, here is an issue I was keen to clean up in Watford.

For Labour in the story, you could quite easily substitute LibDem and Conservative for the elected politician. I hadn't realised it was a disciplinary matter.

Perhaps now the councillors on WBC and TRDC will act a little more dignified and stop posting under false names.

http://www.stokesent
inel.co.uk/Stoke-Tre
nt-deputy-city-counc
il-leader-suspended/
story-21164310-detai
l/story.html
Talking of unscrupulous politicians, here is an issue I was keen to clean up in Watford. For Labour in the story, you could quite easily substitute LibDem and Conservative for the elected politician. I hadn't realised it was a disciplinary matter. Perhaps now the councillors on WBC and TRDC will act a little more dignified and stop posting under false names. http://www.stokesent inel.co.uk/Stoke-Tre nt-deputy-city-counc il-leader-suspended/ story-21164310-detai l/story.html Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -9

10:35am Sat 31 May 14

oldgold says...

Lord Rennard is a disgrace to the party of which I am a member. He should be expelled, permanently and without further delay.
Lord Rennard is a disgrace to the party of which I am a member. He should be expelled, permanently and without further delay. oldgold
  • Score: 4

3:22pm Sat 31 May 14

trebleywebley says...

oldgold wrote:
Lord Rennard is a disgrace to the party of which I am a member. He should be expelled, permanently and without further delay.
on what grounds ?
[quote][p][bold]oldgold[/bold] wrote: Lord Rennard is a disgrace to the party of which I am a member. He should be expelled, permanently and without further delay.[/p][/quote]on what grounds ? trebleywebley
  • Score: 2

6:51pm Sat 31 May 14

Wacko Jacko says...

oldgold wrote:
Lord Rennard is a disgrace to the party of which I am a member. He should be expelled, permanently and without further delay.
Sadly there have been several high level LibDems coming forward as apologists for Rennard this week. He built his reputation as a successful campaign guru, and now the old guard under the pressure of collapsing ratings are trying to wheel him back in to turn things around. What they need to wake up to is the fact that for all his campaigning skills, in the eyes of the public Rennard is toxic. It's time for the party to man up, show some moral fibre and expel him.
[quote][p][bold]oldgold[/bold] wrote: Lord Rennard is a disgrace to the party of which I am a member. He should be expelled, permanently and without further delay.[/p][/quote]Sadly there have been several high level LibDems coming forward as apologists for Rennard this week. He built his reputation as a successful campaign guru, and now the old guard under the pressure of collapsing ratings are trying to wheel him back in to turn things around. What they need to wake up to is the fact that for all his campaigning skills, in the eyes of the public Rennard is toxic. It's time for the party to man up, show some moral fibre and expel him. Wacko Jacko
  • Score: 1

11:31am Mon 2 Jun 14

Roy Stockdill says...

As the prevailing climate of political correctness spirals ever upwards to new heights of lunacy, I predict that it will soon be deemed an act of "inappropriate behaviour", punishable by a fine or imprisonment, for a man even to open a door for a woman!

Without condoning what Lord Rennard may or may not have done, and I confess I'm not sufficiently interested to have read all the details, it does seem to me that there is a rapidly spreading hysteria that is engulfing common sense. I cannot help wondering whether some of these women who have made allegations against public figures - especially in the cases of elderly and ageing entertainers from 30 or 40 years ago, where there has to be an element of doubt as to why the alleged victims have waited so long - have got an eye to the main chance, i.e. hoping to win a large payout in a civil action under the burgeoning compensation culture.
As the prevailing climate of political correctness spirals ever upwards to new heights of lunacy, I predict that it will soon be deemed an act of "inappropriate behaviour", punishable by a fine or imprisonment, for a man even to open a door for a woman! Without condoning what Lord Rennard may or may not have done, and I confess I'm not sufficiently interested to have read all the details, it does seem to me that there is a rapidly spreading hysteria that is engulfing common sense. I cannot help wondering whether some of these women who have made allegations against public figures - especially in the cases of elderly and ageing entertainers from 30 or 40 years ago, where there has to be an element of doubt as to why the alleged victims have waited so long - have got an eye to the main chance, i.e. hoping to win a large payout in a civil action under the burgeoning compensation culture. Roy Stockdill
  • Score: -2

12:18pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Andy Wylie says...

Roy, there may well be a few people about who want to make a buck of any incident - I remember a case, a few years ago now when working for BR, one of our empty stock trains coming into Paddington derailed and then we had claims coming in from "passengers" who said they were on that train! Their details were passed to the Transport Police.
In the case of Lord Rennard, it is a powerful personality who it is alleged used that position of power to try to obtain favours from employees/volunteers
. The four women involved here seem to be motivated by other than monetary concerns in coming forward.
The fact that my party did not even seem to have the basic guidelines and procedures in place for dealing with such matters is really poor. The procedure requiring criminal level of proof is a pesterers charter and would be unacceptable in any organisation I have worked within or had responsibility for. ( i.e. WBC ).
The whole matter has become an inglorious mess (which is still going through more party procedures) in which there are and will be no winners.
Roy, there may well be a few people about who want to make a buck of any incident - I remember a case, a few years ago now when working for BR, one of our empty stock trains coming into Paddington derailed and then we had claims coming in from "passengers" who said they were on that train! Their details were passed to the Transport Police. In the case of Lord Rennard, it is a powerful personality who it is alleged used that position of power to try to obtain favours from employees/volunteers . The four women involved here seem to be motivated by other than monetary concerns in coming forward. The fact that my party did not even seem to have the basic guidelines and procedures in place for dealing with such matters is really poor. The procedure requiring criminal level of proof is a pesterers charter and would be unacceptable in any organisation I have worked within or had responsibility for. ( i.e. WBC ). The whole matter has become an inglorious mess (which is still going through more party procedures) in which there are and will be no winners. Andy Wylie
  • Score: 0

12:29pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Roy Stockdill says...

Andy, I'm not defending Rennard, but if every middle aged man whose ever touched a woman's bottom or leg or back, deliberately or sometimes inadvertently, were to be hauled into court the justice system would be clogged for years and years to come!

All I am suggesting is that some people over-react because they're so politically correct and it has reached hysterical proportions. I recall a secretary I had once in my Fleet Street days, who worked for my boss and myself in a department. She was a very attractive blonde lady with a good sense of humour and we gave her a party when she left. She made a smashing speech thanking everybody, but then finished by saying that she felt she must complain about the sexual harassment in the department. Everybody fell silent and looked at their feet or at my boss and I. Then she announced "There's not enough of it!" Everybody cheered her loudly for a common sense approach!
Andy, I'm not defending Rennard, but if every middle aged man whose ever touched a woman's bottom or leg or back, deliberately or sometimes inadvertently, were to be hauled into court the justice system would be clogged for years and years to come! All I am suggesting is that some people over-react because they're so politically correct and it has reached hysterical proportions. I recall a secretary I had once in my Fleet Street days, who worked for my boss and myself in a department. She was a very attractive blonde lady with a good sense of humour and we gave her a party when she left. She made a smashing speech thanking everybody, but then finished by saying that she felt she must complain about the sexual harassment in the department. Everybody fell silent and looked at their feet or at my boss and I. Then she announced "There's not enough of it!" Everybody cheered her loudly for a common sense approach! Roy Stockdill
  • Score: 1

3:56pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Andy Wylie says...

I am of the 1970's work generation and remember those days with fondness! However, even then, I didn't like seeing a boss abusing his position with overt pressure of this kind on his staff. Word would get around and he usually got moved, pretty quickly.

There was a more open pattern of workplace behaviour then and I agree it is a difficult issue to persue people decades after for what was then the accepted norm. However, for those people who crossed the line, even for those days, there should be no escape.

What galls me in this particular case is that the alleged incidents are recent, when any individual in a position of authority should know better than to even get into a position where they could be suspected.
I am of the 1970's work generation and remember those days with fondness! However, even then, I didn't like seeing a boss abusing his position with overt pressure of this kind on his staff. Word would get around and he usually got moved, pretty quickly. There was a more open pattern of workplace behaviour then and I agree it is a difficult issue to persue people decades after for what was then the accepted norm. However, for those people who crossed the line, even for those days, there should be no escape. What galls me in this particular case is that the alleged incidents are recent, when any individual in a position of authority should know better than to even get into a position where they could be suspected. Andy Wylie
  • Score: 0

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