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LIB DEM peer Lord Lester faces the longest ever suspension from the House of Lords after he allegedly promised to make a woman a baroness if she slept with him.
Mr Lester was accused by the parliamentary privileges and conduct committee today of sexually harassing a woman.
He will be suspended until June 2022 if the Lords upholds the committee’s punishment in a vote on Thursday.
In their conduct report, the committee said that he had “offered her a corrupt inducement to have sexual relations with her.”
The victim, who made the complaint in November 2017, said that he promised to make her a baroness within a year if she had sex with him.
The committee also said that he had “warned her of unspecified consequences” if she did not comply with him.
Mr Lester, who helped split Labour to found the Social Democratic Party in 1981, became a peer in 1993.
He had been a longstanding human rights barrister and a former adviser to ex-Labour prime minister Gordon Brown.
Mr Lester was recently the Liberal Democrats’ human rights spokesman, though he resigned from the position in February this year when the complaint was made and the party suspended his membership.
In its report the committee found that his actions demonstrated a “grave abuse of power,” saying: “Lord Lester has made a dishonourable promise backed by a dishonourable threat.”
In a statement, the lord strongly rejected the committee report, claiming that the allegations were “completely untrue,” and that he had produced evidence to demonstrate the events didn’t happen.
He went on: “Independent counsel who previously advised the committee on its procedures provided an advice which concluded that the investigation was flawed. I regret the committee’s conclusions in the light of these materials.”
The case is expected to continue public discussion on powerful individuals engaged in acts of sexual harassment, following businessman Sir Philip Green’s outing in the Lords by Peter Hain.
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