Weymouth borough councillor Ryan Hope was suspended by Liberal Democrat HQ on Monday 27 January 2014.
On hearing the news, Rachel said: “I welcome this decision. which has to be in the best interests of the electorate. However, I am astonished that it has taken four months to take the action which should have been evident from the outset. With such serious charges there should have been an urgent consideration of a without-prejudice suspension. What does it say about the internal structures and communications of the Liberal Democrats that they ignore all calls for action from local people and only respond to intervention at a national level?
Irrespective of the outcome of Cllr Hope’s criminal trial, these are serious allegations which must impact on his ability to carry out his public duties. South Dorset Labour group raised this issue at least twice with the Liberal Democrat group leadership. Cllr Roebuck, the leader of that group, dismissed these concerns out of hand and instead chose to sweep what are very serious allegations under the carpet. It is hard to believe that he didn’t know that there were explicit rules covering situations of this kind. Cllr Roebuck says he told LibDem HQ: they say he didn’t: people deserve more transparency and responsibility.
In the light of concerns surrounding both Lord Rennard and Mike Hancock, this refusal to act shows poor judgement, a failure to comprehend the severity of the situation and contempt for the electorate and speaks volumes about a party which appears to be characterised by a lack of communication and accountability”
Rachel was interviewed about this matter on BBC South Today on Tuesday 28 January (at 02:55)
Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg discussed his dissatisfaction with the situation on LBC Radio on Thursday 30 January (at 14:00)