David Steel: Lib Dems launch investigation over Cyril Smith remarks

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The Freethinker Democrats are investigating former leader David Steel over perceives he made to a child abuse inquiry about the late MP Cyril Smith.

Aristocrat Steel said he asked Smith in 1979 about claims he ill-treated boys at a Rochdale hostel in the 1960s.

He said he came away from the palaver “assuming” that Smith had committed the offences.

But he claimed it was “nothing to do with me” as it had happened sooner than Smith joined the party.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Fleshly Abuse (IICSA) heard that no formal inquiry was held by the carouse into the claims against Smith, which were investigated by the the gendarmes in 1969 but no prosecution was brought.

A Lib Dem spokesman told BBC Scotland: “Following his look ats at the inquiry, the party has begun an investigation into Lord Steel.”

  • Chairlady ‘assumed’ Cyril Smith was an abuser

Smith served as a Labour councillor in Rochdale in the 1960s previous becoming the Liberal and then Liberal Democrat MP for the town between 1972 and 1992.

Declarations that he abused a number of boys found a wider public searchlight after he died in 2010.

Lord Steel, 80, told the inquiry he examined the allegations with Smith in 1979, after an article appeared in Seclusive Eye.

He said Smith had told him “it was correct, the matter had been investigated by guard, no further action was taken and that was the end of the story”.

Lord Steel conjectured he had “assumed” that Smith had committed the offences, but said he took no moreover action because: “It was before he was an MP, before he was even a member of my party. It had nothing to do with me.”

Aristocrat Steel also described recommending Smith for a knighthood in 1988 and put about he did not pass on any allegations about the sexual abuse of children because “I was not in the know of any such allegations other than the matter referred to…which manifested to have been fully investigated.”

And he said it had not occurred to him that offsprings could still have been at risk from Smith.

In a proclamation released on Thursday afternoon, Lord Steel said: “I would take pleasure in to clarify what happened in 1979 when I asked Cyril Smith all over the report in Private Eye.

“As I told the Inquiry yesterday I did not have that publicize with me when I tackled him, nor did we discuss the details in it.

“He admitted to me that the backfire was correct in that he had been investigated by the police at the time and no action infatuated against him.

“I had already told the Inquiry in writing that in my opinion he had been maligning his position in Rochdale Council (that is to gain access council run little ones’s homes), but that had been properly a matter for the police and the Council, and not for me as he was neither an MP nor the score with a member of the Liberal Party at the time.

“I was in no position to re-open the investigation.”

‘Sensationalist headlines’

The disclosure continued: “I am reinforced in my view by reading the previous report of the Inquiry sent to me today, which bids inter alia ‘the Crown Prosecution Service found that the notification which had previously been given could not be faulted (given the law and advice in place at the time)’ and that the honours scrutiny committee had seriously believed his nomination for a knighthood and sent a ‘warning of risk’ letter to Margaret Thatcher as PM, and that ‘plainly she took a similar view’ as he was granted the knighthood.

“It is unfortunate that some sectors of the media have chosen to extract certain passages of evidence and today them without the full context.

“The inquiry has a serious and sensitive job to agree and spinning evidence to generate sensationalist headlines only serves to deflect from panel’s search of the truth.”

Richard Scorer, a specialist pervert lawyer at Slater and Gordon who is acting on behalf of seven victims in the maligning inquiry, said Lord Steel’s admission that he assumed Smith had carry out pledged offences would “cause victims great anger”.

He added: “Protect’s inaction was an appalling dereliction of duty and I hope the inquiry will criticize it in the strongest possible terms.”

Lord Steel became the Liberal MP for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles in 1965, and adorn come ofed the party’s leader in 1976 after the resignation of Jeremy Thorpe, who later defied trial on charges of conspiracy and incitement to murder.

He was elected as an MSP when the Scottish Parliament brazened in 1999, and was appointed as the parliament’s first presiding officer.

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