16:36 21 January 2014
Lord Rennard has been suspended by the Lib Dems from the party after he refused to apologise over sexual harassment claims. He, however, said that he “regret” if he had unintentionally “hurt” any woman.
Determined not to apologise for something he “had not done,” he has now launched a legal bid to reverse the suspension.
In a statement, he said: "If ever I have hurt, embarrassed or upset anyone, then it would never have been my intention and, of course, I regret that they may have felt any hurt, embarrassment or upset.”
"But for the reasons given, I will not offer an apology to the four women complainants. I do not believe that people should be forced to say what they know they should not say, or do not mean.”
Last year, he resigned the party whip after claims that of sexual harassment. The allegations were investigated by senior barrister Alistair Webster QC who concluded that they could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
One of his accusers, Bridget Harris reacted to the suspension and said: "I absolutely welcome the fact that the Liberal Democrats have taken the very strong message that if someone is not willing to apologise and they're not willing to accept responsibility for their behaviour then they shouldn't be entitled to be a member of the Liberal Democrats."
Sources speaking to the BBC warned that new legal action could lead "to a blood bath, the like of which the party has not seen before".
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