Oh Lord! Lib Dems forget their own history of scandal: ANDREW PIERCE explains how party took £2.4m donation from fraudster

The Westminster sex scandal has threatened to engulf the Tories and Labour, but there’s been little word from the Liberal Democrats.

Sir Vince Cable, the party leader, has confined himself to saying: ‘Parliament clearly needs improved procedures to respond to allegations of harassment.’

Could Cable have offered such a muted response because he’s aware that, in 2014, Lib Dem Lord Rennard — one of his friends — was suspended from the party and forced to apologise to four women party members for ‘encroaching on their personal space’.

Now back on the Lib Dem red benches, Rennard was in Cable’s Twickenham constituency helping to campaign during the General Election.

Could Cable have offered such a muted response because he’s aware that, in 2014, Lib Dem Lord Rennard — one of his friends — was suspended from the party and forced to apologise to four women party members for ‘encroaching on their personal space’

Could Cable have offered such a muted response because he’s aware that, in 2014, Lib Dem Lord Rennard — one of his friends — was suspended from the party and forced to apologise to four women party members for ‘encroaching on their personal space’

Like any Lib Dem worth their salt, Rennard is no stranger to hypocrisy. In a debate in the Lords about party political funding last week, he said: ‘The scandals of all parties and referendum campaigns that depend on the donations of a few rich individuals will continue until we cap donations at a sensible level, and consider redirecting some of the Government’s advertising budget to extend existing levels of state funding to support our democracy — which does not come free.’

Hang on, in 2005 the Lib Dems took £2.4 million — their biggest donation — from a chancer named Michael Brown. One of Britain’s most wanted fraudsters, in 2012 he was jailed for seven years.

Who was chief executive of the party when they took the money? Lord Rennard. Presumably given his sanctimonious demand that the ‘scandal’ of large individual donations be ended, you’d expect him to have made sure his party repaid Brown’s money, which came from stolen funds.

But no — not a single penny.

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How many cases of alleged sexual harassment or bullying do you think the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has investigated in the nine years since the office was formed? Not one.

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Corbyn's university challenged?

Watching University Challenge for Channel 4’s Celebrity Gogglebox, Comrade Corbyn heard Jeremy Paxman ask: ‘Against which city state did Rome fight the three Punic Wars in the third and second centuries?’ Corbyn confidently answered: ‘Sparta.’ Jessica Hynes, star of BBC spoof W1A, sitting beside him on the sofa, convulsed in a fit of giggles. An embarrassed Corbyn then said: ‘Oh third century? I got the wrong century. Of course, Carthage, of course.’ The perils of live television.?

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Silence from Labour over the unravelling of the reputation of Kevin Spacey, who was the star turn at the party’s conference in Blackpool in 2002. ‘Spacey was a really fun guy who turned up with Bill [Clinton] for Northern night, and did a brilliant impersonation of him,’ recalled Blair. What else did Spacey get up to on Blackpool’s Golden Mile??

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Quote of the week: ‘I came here for the free food.’ Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner reacting to winning the Spectator’s Rising Star of the Year award.

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Remainer Love-in at Oxford

Proof positive of the stranglehold Remainers have on our universities. Take Oxford University’s series of lectures entitled ‘Prime Ministers and Europe since Thatcher’.

Guess what? Every one of the speakers is a remainer. The PR blurb says: ‘Margaret Thatcher’s views on Europe will be expounded by Lord (Charles) Powell, her Foreign Affairs Private Secretary; Gordon Brown’s views will be expounded by Lord (Stewart) Wood, his former Special Adviser. Tony Blair’s views by Lord (Andrew) Adonis, his Head of Policy; John Major’s by Lord Patten, a former EU commissioner; David Cameron’s views by Sir Ivan Rogers, former UK Permanent Representative to the EU.’

So, a Remainer love-in — with not a Brexiteer in sight. Lady Thatcher would be spinning in her grave.

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