Lord Lester’s “unfair” ban from Parliament for sexually harassing a woman 12 years ago was blocked yesterday after more than 100 peers rebelled against their own watchdog.

The 82-year-old peer said he now looked forward to “restoring his reputation” which had been shredded after the Lords privileges and conduct committee recommended his four-year suspension.

A women’s rights campaigner had complained that Lord Lester had told her: “Sleep with me and I will make you a baroness”.

But a growing number of peers complained that Lord Lester, once one of the country’s most eminent human rights lawyers, had been treated unfairly, insisting his alleged victim Jasvinder Sanghera should have been cross-examined to test the credibility of claims, dating back to 2007. Ms Sanghera had told six people at the time before making an official complaint last year.

Lord Pannick QC, a close friend and former colleague of Lord Lester said the findings of the standards watchdog had “destroyed” his friend’s  reputation and called on peers to back his amendment to block the suspension.

He told the Lords that days after the alleged harassment, Ms Sanghera, 53,  had sent Lord Lester a book thanking the peer for his support and signed it with “love and admiration”. More than two years later, she sent him another of her books, signed “with love and respect”.

Lord Pannick said that rules had prevented the victim’s cross-examination and as a result the investigation lacked a “basic standard of fairness”.

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