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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Lord Lester resigns amid allegations he offered peerage in exchange for sex

Written by The Press Association

A peer accused of groping a woman and promising her a peerage in exchange for sex has resigned from the House of Lords, it has been reported.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill (pictured) told The Times he will step down with immediate effect, adding the investigation into his alleged conduct has "taken a serious toll" on his health.

The 82-year-old was suspended from the Liberal Democrats after the allegations came to light, claims which the prominent QC has called "completely untrue".

The Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee recommended he should be suspended until June 2022 after he allegedly offered Jasvinder Sanghera "corrupt inducements" to sleep with him.

Peers backed a call last month to send his case back to the Lords Committee for Privileges and Conduct by 101 votes to 78, amid claims that the investigation was "manifestly unfair".

Lord Lester told the paper: "This investigation has taken a serious toll on my health.

"I have seen today that the committee does not accept the resolution of the House that the commissioner's investigation did not comply with natural justice, and that it intends instead to bring this matter back to the House of Lords."

He added that he does not have the "strength or health" to continue.

"I am sorry that this issue has caused so much upset to everyone involved and very much hope that the House of Lords will now take the long called-for step of reforming its procedures," he added.

In a follow-up report into the conduct of Lord Lester, agreed before he announced his retirement, the House of Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee recommended he be suspended.

The Committee said: "We recommend that the House should endorse the conclusions of the independent Commissioner for Standards that Lord Lester of Herne Hill breached the requirement of the Code of Conduct to act on his personal honour, by sexually harassing the complainant and offering her a corrupt inducement to sleep with him.

"We further recommend that Lord Lester of Herne Hill be suspended from the House until June 3 2022."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) UK Parliament / PA Wire.