We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Independent inquiry

April 5, 2013 4:30 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Appeal for witnesses
How to get in contact with the review
Review Team
Witness information
Witness support
Criminal investigation
Internal Party Disciplinary Investigation
Latest news


The review follows a series of high profile allegations that the party failed to act on allegations of sexual impropriety.

The review will look at attitudes towards women in the party, as well as the employment relationship between staff, elected officials and volunteers; training; and how to lead a wider change in Westminster.

We are keen to hear from all those who have relevant experiences and views to help form an accurate picture, whether Party members, staff or public, relevant to the scope of the review.

The review will not be making judgements on specific cases or making any assumptions regarding the innocence or guilt of individuals.

You can find more about the review and how to contact us here:

Commenting, Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Gordon said:

"Following recent allegations it is clear that we in the Liberal Democrats failed to live up to our political ideals.
"We recognise that we need to adapt how we operate. As a political party which prides itself on equality, we must give everyone confidence they will be treated fairly and equally and that they will be listened to.
"It is vital this review is done independently of the party, in a way which can be frank and can scrutinise thoroughly. I am delighted Helena has agreed to chair the review. She has been a leading light in the development of women and breaking barriers, and I am sure that she will make an immensely positive difference to both our party and to politics."


Helena Morrissey said:

"Too much of our society has operated in old-boys' networks. It leads to an atmosphere where women don't feel valued or listened to. We can only make changes in society when those at the top in business and politics lead by example.
"While prompted in difficult circumstances, this review is a very important step in giving everyone, especially women, a greater confidence in politics and the Liberal Democrats.
"I will be talking to people at all levels of the party to recognise where there have been failings to help guide a culture shift and develop a much more equal and trusting set of standards."


Appeal for witnesses


We are keen to hear from all those who have relevant experiences and views to help form an accurate picture, whether Party members, staff or public, relevant to the scope of the review.

  • Do you have examples of specific incidences where processes around complaints were not followed or where there appeared to be gaps in policies or procedures for dealing with such complaints?
  • Can you provide examples which illustrate weaknesses in the Party's attitudes and culture - past and present?
  • Do you have ideas about what needs to change for the Party to look to the future with confidence that any form of harassment within the Party will be properly dealt with?

All submissions will be treated in confidence. Helena Morrissey will follow up with a number of those who submit written evidence where it is needed to explore specific aspects of testimony, either in-person or via other means.

The review will also be gathering all formal party policies and how these have evolved. We will conduct a range of interviews will people inside the party at all levels.

It is also important to hear from people no longer connected to the Liberal Democrats, but who may have information connected to past events.

How to get in contact with the review

Please submit all written evidence by Friday 5th April to contact@independentinquiry.org.uk.

Evidence can also be sent, by Friday April 12th to:

Helena Morrissey
C/O LDHQ
8-10 Great George Street
London
SW1P3AE

A confidential voicemail is also available until 8pm on Friday April 12th on:

The phone number is a LDHQ number, but it is a voicemail only service which can only be accessed by Helena. Anything sent through the post will go through the standard Royal Mail screening. It will not be opened by anyone other than Helena.


Review Team

Helena Morrissey CBE, Chief executive officer Newton Investment Management Helena joined Newton in 1994 as a fixed income fund manager and was appointed CEO in 2001. During her time running Newton's bond funds she was twice-winner of Investment Week's Global Bond Fund Manager of the year.

Helena is involved in many aspects of the UK fund management industry and was named the Financial News 'Most Influential Woman in European Asset Management' in 2010. She was the first female director of the UK's Investment Management Association, serving from 2005 till 2012. She represents the investment industry on the FSA's Practitioner Panel, a statutory body providing input to the regulators from practitioners' perspectives . She is a member of the University of Cambridge Endowment Investment Board and chairman of the Eve Appeal, which funds research into gynaecological cancers. Helena is also the Chair of the Corporate Board of the Royal Academy of Arts. In 2010, Helena founded the 30% Club, a cross-business initiative aimed at achieving 30% women on UK corporate boards by 2015 through voluntary, business-led change. She was appointed CBE in the 2012 New Year's Honours list.

A Cambridge philosophy graduate, she began her career as a global bond analyst with Schroders in New York. She is married with nine children.

Helena Morrissey will be assisted by barrister Jane Smithard, a former chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidates Association. Jane's role is to advise Helena on the party structure and process, and not be involved in witness statements.


Witness information

All submissions will be treated in confidence. Helena Morrissey will follow up with a number of those who submit written evidence where it is felt needed to explore specific aspects of testimony, either in-person or via other means.

If requested to attend a further interview with Helena, witnesses will have their travel costs covered by the review.
Meetings will not take place within Liberal Democrat associated buildings.

If attending an interview, you are allowed to bring a family member or friend with you. And their travel expenses will also be covered. You are also able to bring a legal representative.

We have set up access to counselling support through an independent provider of qualified counsellors. You can access this service at any time. Contact Public Concern at Work on 020 7404 6609 who are acting as the gateway to this service.


Witness support

The Liberal Democrats have sought the assistance of Public Concern at Work, the UK's leading whistle-blowing authority, to ensure that the whistle-blowing arrangement is sufficiently independent to provide the required support to those wishing to come forward in relation to the alleged behaviour of Lord Rennard.

Public Concern at Work have agreed to take over the role, temporarily filled by Kate Parminter, as the main point of contact for anyone wishing to come forward with further allegations or information.

Public Concern at Work are also able to provide witnesses with independent and confidential advice. They are able to provide guidance and help to victims with regards to who they should go to in the context of the reviews and investigations under way. They will assist individuals in contacting investigators, only where the individual wishes to do so.

Those wishing to come forward under this arrangement can do so by calling: 020 7404 6609.

If you have already contacted Kate Parminter, she will continue to support you and pass on information to the two investigations as instructed by you. There is no need to repeat this process with Public Concern at Work, unless you would like to do so.

We have set up access to counselling support through an independent provider of qualified counsellors. Anyone affected by the allegations who wishes to use this should contact Public Concern at Work, who are acting as the gateway to this service.


Criminal investigation


Inquiries by the Metropolitan Police are currently underway to ascertain whether criminal activity might have taken place. This is still at an early stage and there is no set time limit on when they must decide whether or not a criminal investigation should take place.

If you have information that may help the police with their inquiries as to whether criminal activity has taken place I would also strongly encourage you to contact them. You can do so by calling: 0208 721 4601. The initial call will be taken by clerical staff, and will then be followed up by specially trained officers.


Internal Party Disciplinary Investigation

We have appointed Alistair Webster QC to lead the formal internal investigation under the Party's disciplinary rules into the specific allegations made about the conduct of Lord Rennard.

UPDATE: The internal disciplinary investigation has been put on hold to allow the police to continue with their investigation.


Alistair has prosecuted and defended many prominent cases. He has been a recorder of the Crown Court since 1991 and a QC since 1995. He is a former Chairman of the Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association and practices from chambers in Manchester and London. He is one of the country's most experienced criminal lawyers and is currently the joint head of Lincoln House Chambers.

In accordance with the party constitution, internal party disciplinary investigations are conducted by people who hold current membership of the party.


Latest news

Tim Gordon | Fri 8th March 2013 http://www.libdemvoice.org/update-on-party-response-to-allegations-of-sexual-impropriety-33592.html