Tensions are building within the Liberal Democrats' governing body after Lord Rennard was elected last night to represent the Lib Dem lords in the party's federal executive.
The Lib Dem lords backed Rennard by a significant majority and disenchanted party members are hopeful that leader Tim Farron will step in.
Rennard had to apologise last year after a number of women in the party accused him of making unwanted sexual advances. The party dropped disciplinary actions against him after an independent barrister said that it was difficult to prove the claims were true beyond reasonable doubt.
Joshua Dixon, a former parliamentary candidate for the party and a member of the federal executive, urged Farron to intervene.
"I'd like Farron to show he understands why people are upset," Dixon told BuzzFeed News. "In his leadership campaign he said Rennard would play no role in the party under him and he has to ensure that's the case, even if he didn't have a say over the appointment.
During the party's leadership election this summer, Farron insisted he had "no intention of appointing him [Rennard] to any role in the party".
BuzzFeed News understands that members of the party's youth wing are particularly unimpressed by the move. The Liberal Youth has previously launched a policy to ban Rennard from attending any of its events.
Party members have also publicly spoken out against Rennard's election on Twitter.
A Lib Dem spokesperson said: "This was an internal election to find a representative from the Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords to sit on the party's federal executive.
"Any Liberal Democrat peer was eligible to stand for the position and any Liberal Democrat peer was able to cast a vote in the election."
The investigation into Rennard last year concluded the Lib Dem peer should be a "welcome participant" in the party.
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Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Siraj Datoo at email@example.com.
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