A huge number of accusations have suddenly broken loose about Chris Rennard and sexual misconduct. Lord Rennard denies all of them. My view is that we do not yet have enough information about the details of all this despite having several statements. In particular what did people like Nick Clegg know, and what did they do with the information? At best, the Liberal Democrats seem confused and ineffectual.
Some of the suggestions published in the newspapers suggest that any ambitious female Liberal Democrat candidate would go to a training school session hosted by Lord Rennard, which some of the newspapers have referred to as a "casting couch". Were the Liberal Democrats to force women to submit to sexual misconduct as an effective condition of going forward as a parliamentary candidate, it would surely expose their supposed commitment to equalities as a sham.
Of course, a secondary effect of all this might be to influence the Eastleigh by election. I have no idea what such an effect be.
Cathy Newman, who originally broke the story, has raised some more questions following Nick Clegg's statement. I am beginning to wonder whether Nick Clegg will still be Liberal Democrat leader by the end of this week.
Repling to the comment. No I really am concerned about abuse of power (which is what I think these allegations are about, rather than sex). Lord Rennard, whatever the truth of the allegations he denies, was in a uniquely powerful position which has no parallel in Labour or Tory circles. If the allegations are true, this may have disrupted Liberal Democrat efforts to promote women as MPs across the nation. I also think it raises genuine issues about the effectiveness of the Liberal Democrats as an institution and Nick Clegg in particular. I actually think the effect on the Eastleigh by election is the least interesting part of the story.