Lord Lester faces suspension from Parliament for 'offering woman peerage for sex'

The Lib Dem peer denies allegations: 'I hope to be judged by my work for gender equality, race relations and free speech'


A peer is facing being suspended from the House of Lords for almost four years for allegedly offering to make a woman a baroness in exchange for sex.

Lord Anthony Lester, who has sat as a Liberal Democrat since 1993, was handed the longest Parliamentary suspension since the Second World War on Monday.

According to a report by the Privileges and Conduct Committee, the 82-year-old told a woman 12 years ago: “If you sleep with me, I will make you a baroness within a year”.

Jasvinder Sanghera, the founder of the charity Karma Nirvana, later waived her anonymity, identifying herself as the complainant, to urge other potential victims of sexual harassment in Parliament to come forward.

Lord Lester, a human rights barrister and former government adviser, denied her claims on Twitter on Monday, saying the Parliamentary investigation was “flawed and unfair”.

He said: “I regret the Committee’s conclusions in the light of these materials. There has to be a fair process for investigating sexual harassment claims in Parliament.

“Parliament is supposed to be a bastion of the rule of law but calls for fundamental reform of this procedure have been ignored for 20 years.

“I hope to be judged by my work over decades for gender equality, race relations and free speech.”

According to Ms Sanghera, Lord Lester said, that if she refused, “he would see to it I never had a seat in the House of Lords, and warned me there would be other repercussions for me”.

The committee concluded that Lord Lester’s behaviour amounted to “a grave abuse of power in the performance of his parliamentary duties”.

Initially the subcommittee on peers’ conduct recommended Lester be expelled, the first time such action would have been taken, the Guardian reported.

But afer Lord Lester appealed, the Privileges and Conduct Committee opted instead to enforce a suspension.

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