London (AFP) - Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrat party came under fire Wednesday after lifting the suspension of former executive Chris Rennard, whose membership was frozen in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.
A report into the claims found the evidence against Rennard was "broadly credible" but not beyond reasonable doubt, and in May the peer apologised for inadvertently intruding on "personal space".
"I am obviously pleased that all disciplinary investigations against me have been brought to an end and that the suspension of my party membership has been lifted," Rennard said.
"All allegations made about me have now been investigated thoroughly, including by the Metropolitan Police Service, and fell at the first hurdle as there was insufficient evidence to proceed further."
But critics accused the party of failing to support women.
"They say we are credible, then fail to act on it and don't see the impact this has on women and women voters," said former party activist Susan Gaszczak, who resigned her membership in July over the party's handling of the matter.
"The Liberal Democrats have taken a long, hard look in the mirror since these allegations were made last year and I am confident that the party has changed," said Liberal Democrat leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.