Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard suspended in sex storm
Associated Press in London
Britain's Liberal Democrats suspended a member of the House of Lords from the party after he refused to apologise to women accusing him of sex harassment.
Chris Rennard, 53, faced claims that he molested four women in incidents dating back to 2003 - allegations he denies.
An internal inquiry found the women's claims were credible, but could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Nick Clegg, Britain's deputy prime minister and the Lib Dem leader, insisted Rennard apologise before retaking his seat in the House of Lords.
Rennard refused and said he would be reclaiming his seat. But before he could do so, the party suspended him pending a disciplinary procedure.
It said he would be investigated for "bringing the party into disrepute on the grounds of his failure to apologise, as recommended" by the inquiry. "As such, he cannot return to the Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords," the party said. Rennard said he had never seen the report on the inquiry and that apologising would leave him open to future civil action.
"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," he said in a statement after his suspension.
He added that he did not believe people should "be forced to say what they know they should not say or do not mean".