Nick Clegg has ruled out a political comeback for senior Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard despite a decision not to press ahead with party disciplinary proceedings over allegations of sexual harassment against female activists.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader said Lord Rennard should apologise to the women concerned and the former party chief executive would play no role in the 2015 election campaign.
An investigation by QC Alistair Webster concluded there was a "less than 50% chance" that a charge against Lord Rennard could be proved to the required standard.
He said there was broadly credible evidence of "behaviour which violated the personal space and autonomy of the complainants" but it was "unlikely that it could be established beyond reasonable doubt that Lord Rennard had intended to act in an indecent or sexually inappropriate way".
Mr Clegg said: "People in positions of authority should never subject anyone to behaviour which is offensive or inappropriate. It is as simple as that.
"I want everyone to be treated with respect in the Liberal Democrats. That is why it is right that Chris Rennard has been asked in the report to apologise, to reflect on his behaviour and why he won't be playing any role in my general election plans for the campaign in 2015."
Lord Rennard, who had strenuously denied the allegations, had expressed a hope of resuming his roles within the party after the decision to drop disciplinary proceedings.