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Old 15-03-2019, 05:27 AM   #1
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Default David Steel suspended by Lib Dems over Cyril Smith remarks

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have suspended former leader David Steel over remarks he made to a child abuse inquiry about the late MP Cyril Smith.

Lord Steel said he asked Smith in 1979 about claims he abused boys at a Rochdale hostel in the 1960s.

He said he came away from the conversation "assuming" that Smith had committed the offences but claimed it was "nothing to do with me".

A Scottish Lib Dem spokesman said an investigation would take place.

He said: "Following the evidence concerning Cyril Smith given by Lord Steel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on 13th March 2019 the office bearers of the Scottish Liberal Democrats have met and agreed that an investigation is needed.

"The party membership of Lord Steel has been suspended pending the outcome of that investigation. That work will now commence.

"It is important that everyone in the party, and in wider society, understands the importance of vigilance and safeguarding to protect people from abuse, and that everyone has confidence in the seriousness with which we take it.

"We appreciate the difficult work that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is doing on behalf of the victims and survivors of abuse, and the country as a whole."

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

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

Allegations that he abused a number of boys found a wider public spotlight after he died in 2010.

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

He said Smith had told him "it was correct, the matter had been investigated by police, no further action was taken and that was the end of the story".
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Old 15-03-2019, 06:35 AM   #2
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Old 15-03-2019, 07:47 AM   #3
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