POOLE Lib Dem councillors have backed investigations into the alleged behaviour of former party chief executive Lord Rennard.

The peer has been accused by a number of women of sexually inappropriate behaviour, allegations he strenuously denies.

Police are working with the Liberal Democrats in a bid to establish whether or not any crimes have taken place.

Meanwhile, two inquiries have also been established by the Lib Dems themselves.

Cllr Brian Clements, Borough of Poole Lib Dem member for Newtown, said: “The matter is in the hands of the police. Allegations such as these should be investigated.

“I'm happy the party has committed itself to internal and independent scrutiny.

“However, having looked into the background of this, I find it quite startling that the main alleged incident seems to date from 2004, yet it all comes up in the run-up to a crucial by-election.”

The alleged incidents are said to have taken place between 2003 and 2007.

Voters in Eastleigh go to the polls on today for what has arguably become one of the most high profile by-elections of recent years.

Prompted by the spectacular downfall of disgraced former MP Chris Huhne, the Eastleigh by-election has seen big guns from all main parties canvass in the Hampshire town.

On the ongoing Rennard saga, Borough of Poole Lib Dem Cllr Mike Brooke said: “The thing I can categorically say is that until the press broke this story I knew absolutely nothing whatsoever about it.

“I think setting up the inquiries immediately has been the right thing to do. I think we need to look at the structures that were in place at the time these allegations were made. If we didn't have the right structures in place then, we have to be put them in place now.

“Where the police are involved I cannot comment at all. It is a case of waiting until the end of the investigations.”