Lib Dems defend decision to allow Tory Dr Phillip Lee - who voted against same-sex marriage - into party
Lib Dem chief whip Alistair Carmichael told the party conference in Bournemouth that conference that - "hands up" - the party could have handled Dr Lee's defection from the Tories better.
Dr Lee sensationally crossed the floor of the Commons earlier this month, quitting the Tories to join the Lib Dems.
The move prompted Jennie Rigg, who had chaired the Lib Dems' LGBT caucus, to leave the party.
Rigg said there is widespread concern about Dr Lee, who has previously not voted in favour of same-sex marriage.
Mr Carmichael said lessons had been learned, but said the Lib Dems had "not been deaf" to the concerns of LGBT+ members.
He said: "Could we have handled it differently? Could we have handled it better? Yeah, hands up, of course we absolutely could.
"The priority that we took with Phillip as with everybody else was the engagement with the local party."
Mr Carmichael said Dr Lee had done a lot of work at the Ministry of Justice, including lowering the number of female convicts being kept in prisons, which was "consistent" with Lib Dem values.
He added: "We have not been deaf to the concerns of LGBT+."
Mr Carmichael said the party has "learned lessons" from the way Dr Lee joined the party, and said he is determined to avoid repeating some of the mistakes in the future.
He said he believed Dr Lee had "particular reasons for saying and doing what he did", which were "no contradiction" to the values of the Lib Dems.