The BBC reports further developments.
If legal action is taken, then Lord Rennard will have crossed The Rubicon. He may very well be vindicated in the courts. In fact, I guess he will be. I remain to be convinced that the rules of the party have not been somewhat mangled.
But when you take legal action against your own party, events enter a very different sphere. We move beyond cosy committees and sandals to sober courts and wigs. There is no going back. No doubt this is weighing heavily and painfully on Lord Rennard’s mind. The party will bear some responsibility for such an escalation in so far as, arguably, the rules have been somewhat fudged and, arguably, mediation could have been organised a lot earlier.
Yes, Lord Rennard’s suspension may very well be reversed by the High Court. It will give some satisfaction to Lord Rennard if it is. (I do not begrudge him that. In fact, I would welcome it.). But things will never be the same. This whole episode will have taken a more serious turn. I will certainly still talk to Chris if I see him. But, others don’t have to.
I have defended Chris and argued for due process to be followed. I still do.
But I have read public writings on this subject by people who I greatly trust, who have been at the centre of the party for a long time. These writings have moved me.