Liberal Democrat peer Lord Lester quits frontbench after sexual harassment allegations

Written by Nicholas Mairs on 21 February 2018 in News

Anthony Lester resigns the Liberal Democrat whip after allegations in the Sun newspaper

House of Lords - Stefan Rousseau/PA 

A Liberal Democrat peer has quit his frontbench role over allegations of sexual harassment.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill – recognised as an architect of Britain's race and sex equality laws – stood down from the post as spokesman for Human Rights and agreed to have the party whip withdrawn.

The Sun reports that a campaigner accused the 81-year-old of repeatedly trying to grope her after she approached him for help to pass legislation.

She also claimed he offered her his full backing only if she agreed to a sexual relationship.

The paper adds has that the alleged harassment is understood to have taken place some years ago.

The peer has denied the claims against him and vowed to “vigorously contest” them.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “Anthony Lester has withdrawn himself as a spokesperson in the Lords and membership of the Liberal Democrat group in the Lords whilst the investigation by the House of Lords Standards Commissioner is ongoing”.

A spokesman for Lord Lester added: “Lord Lester has a long and distinguished record as a champion of human rights and sex equality and has a right to be treated fairly and under due process.

“He will vigorously contest the allegation.

“In the meantime he has withdrawn himself from his position as a spokesperson in the Lords and from his membership of the Liberal Democrat group in the Lords until this issue is resolved.”

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