WOMEN'S Minister Jo Swinson has spoken publicly about the Lord Rennard sexual harassment allegations for the first time in almost two weeks.

The East Dunbartonshire Liberal Democrat MP said she could not comment on the allegations, out of respect for those who had confided in her.

It was also revealed yesterday that Nick Clegg told one alleged victim the LibDems had failed to look at the "big picture" over the peer's alleged behaviour.

Police are currently investigating allegations against the peer.

The LibDems have also launched two inquiries, including one into how the party handled complaints.

Ms Swinson has faced questions over what action she took after a number of women, including former Aberdeen councillor Alison Smith, confided their concerns to her. She said that such details should be given to the inquiries.

Asked about her handling of the allegations, Ms Swinson said: "My focus throughout this has been to protect the women who confided in me and to prevent other women experiencing this kind of behaviour."