An Oxford University lecturer who made sexual harassment allegations against Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard has said there has been a lack of transparency in how the party has dealt with the issue.

Alison Smith, who is a lecturer in comparative government at the university, made complaints about Lord Rennard’s inappropriate behaviour when she was a Lib Dem activist.

She has also told the Oxford Mail she would not rule out legal action. “I would much rather ‘hold the party’s feet to the fire’ and make it investigate this matter properly, since that would help future generations of women entering politics much more than if I were to pursue an individual civil action. However, I would not hesitate to protect my reputation in the case of libel or slander.”


Alison Smith

Lord Rennard has been suspended from the Lib Dems but has said he will take legal action.

A spokesman for Lord Rennard, the party’s former chief executive who has always denied the allegations, said he had instructed a QC specialising in public law to advise him on the “lawfulness or otherwise” of the decision to launch a second inquiry into his conduct.