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Lord Lester escapes lengthy House of Lords ban

LIB DEM peer Lord Lester, who allegedly groped a woman and promised her a peerage for sex, had his suspension lifted by the House of Lords today.

He was facing the longest ban from Parliament in modern history after an inquiry found he had sexually harassed Jasvinder Sanghera, with whom he had been working at the time of the alleged incident in 2006.

The House of Lords voted by 101 to 78 to send the case back to the Lords Committee for Privileges and Conduct committee, which recommended the ban, to look at again.

Lord Lester allegedly told Ms Sanghera: "If you sleep with me, I will make you a baroness within a year."

Peers raised concerns over the disciplinary procedure, arguing it was "manifestly unfair."

Lord Lester, who created some of Britain's race and sex equality legislation, would not have been allowed back into the House of Lords until 2022 if peers had backed the suspension.

Ms Sanghera’s lawyer David Hooper had expressed concern at the campaign by peers defending Lord Lester and criticising the investigation.

"All peers, including Lord Lester, have accepted this procedure for people to make complaints, but they don’t seem to like it when the decision is against them," Mr Hooper said.

Baroness Hussein-Ece argued during the debate that many peers were defending Lord Lester and had no regard of Ms Sanghera during the debate.

She said: "Why do they think women are reluctant to come forward, faced with powerful men with powerful friends?"

Lord Lester has strongly denied the accusations.

 

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