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Prospect of peer returning to key party role

LORD Rennard might still have a future with the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, has suggested.

The peer was suspended from the party for refusing to apologise to women who had accused him of sexual harassment, despite it being the recommendation of an internal inquiry.

But Mr Davey revealed mediation was under way and indicated he did not believe that there was no way back for the former party chief executive.

When it was suggested it sounded like the peer would not have "anything to do with your party ever again", the London MP replied: "I'm not sure if that will be the case, actually, but I'm not close enough to the discussions that are going on with Chris Rennard.

"There are mediation discussions but let's remember that there are no criminal charges; the police found that there was nothing wrong from their point of view.

"But we did an internal inquiry, a detailed internal inquiry, in order to show that we wanted to take it seriously," he said.

Asked if there was a way back for Lord Rennard, Mr Davey added: "Well, that's for others to decide when they have those discussions but my point is, we've learnt from that.

"We asked for an independent report done not just on what happened to Lord Rennard but actually how the party handle such matters because there is room for improvement in our own party; there is room for improvement in all political parties and we have to take this seriously."

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