Nick Clegg is expected to admit tonight that he knew of general concerns about alleged harassment of women by a senior Liberal Democrat colleague.

The Deputy Prime Minister is set to issue a clarification after days of the party insisting he was not aware of complaints about former chief executive Lord Rennard until they were reported by Channel 4 News last week.

The peer - a key party strategist and adviser to a succession of Lib Dem leaders before standing down in 2009 - has said he is "deeply shocked" by the allegations, which he "strongly disputes" and regards as a "total distortion" of his character.