NICK Clegg has admitted his office knew for years of claims that the Liverpool-born former chief executive of the Liberal Democrats had sexually molested staff.
The deputy prime minister said his office knew as far back as 2008 of allegations that Lord Rennard sexually harassed female staff and volunteers.
Until last night the party insisted that Mr Clegg and Lib Dem cabinet colleagues first learnt of the claims when they saw a television news report last week.
Mr Clegg said: “I am angry and outraged at the suggestion that I would not have acted if these allegations had been put to me.
“Indeed, when indirect and non-specific concerns about Chris Rennard’s conduct reached my office in 2008, we acted to deal with them.
“My Chief of Staff at the time, Danny Alexander, put these concerns to Chris Rennard and warned him that any such behaviour was wholly unacceptable.”
The deputy prime minister added: “Chris Rennard categorically denied he had behaved inappropriately and he continues to do so.
“He subsequently resigned as chief executive on health grounds.