Dead MP 'sexually abused boys'

Greater Manchester Police says it is "now publicly acknowledging" that he dead Liberal MP sexcually abused boys in care in Rochdale in the late 1960s.

Live updates

Lib Dems: Smith abuse claims 'abhorrent'

The Liberal Democrats have described the allegations against former Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith "abhorrent" and insisted that the party has "never been involved in any allegations":

Clearly the party does not endorse any person proved to have been involved in incidents such as these.

All allegations should have been investigated thoroughly with the authorities taking whatever action necessary.

Any new allegations should be made to the police.

The Liberal Democrats are not aware of any allegations being made to the party, and have never been involved in any investigations.

The alleged incidents and the reported police investigations took place outside of the time Cyril Smith was a Liberal MP.

– Liberal Democrat spokesperson

Advertisement

'Numerous attempts were made to expose' Cyril Smith

Greater Manchester Police have admitted: "We need to be both realistic and frank that as [Sir Cyril] Smith is no longer alive, we will not be able to bring any criminal prosecution against him."

But the force is continuing to encourage anyone who believes they were a victim to contact them:

I would stress that if you do want to speak to someone, your information will be treated with the appropriate sensitivity and in total confidence

If we receive any evidence that anyone was complicit in the abuse that is still alive today, we will of course investigate that thoroughly.

Lastly, I want to add my sympathies to anyone who was a victim of sexual or physical abuse by Sir Cyril Smith.

Having reviewed the full history of this case, I am satisfied that numerous attempts were made to expose his activities but for various reasons this did not happen.

That will be of little comfort to the people who were brave enough to recall their traumatic experiences, but will never see justice done in court.

However, I hope that by publicly acknowledging what happened 50 years ago it will give those people some sense of justice.

Police: Dead MP should have been charged with abuse

Greater Manchester Police have said the dead Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith should have been charged with physically and sexually abusing young boys:

"We are now in a position to say that on three separate occasions, files were passed to first the DPP and then the CPS containing details of abuse committed by Smith, but on each occasion no prosecution was pursued.

Having now reviewed those decisions, we believe that if the same evidence was presented to the CPS today there would have been a very realistic prospect that Smith would have been charged with a number of indecent assaults, and that the case would have been brought to trial.

Clearly that is a bold statement to make but it is absolutely important for those victims who were abused by Smith that we publicly acknowledge the suffering they endured.

Although, Smith cannot be charged or convicted posthumously, from the overwhelming evidence we have it is right and proper we should publicly recognise that young boys were sexually and physically abused and we will offer them as much support as they need should they wish to speak to us.

Advertisement

Fresh abuse allegations 'will be thoroughly investigated'

Any fresh abuse allegations against Sir Cyril Smith "will be thoroughly investigated," Greater Manchester Police said.

There has been a lot of speculation in the media about whether Greater Manchester Police investigated allegations of sexual abuse involving the late Sir Cyril Smith in the 1980s and 1990s.

We are examining our records to see what involvement Greater Manchester Police may have had. However, we need to be clear that some of these allegations are up to 30-years-old and predate our computerised records, so it will take some time to establish what, if any, the Force's involvement was.

What I can say with clarity is that any fresh complaints that are made will be thoroughly investigated and we will continue to work with our colleagues at Lancashire Police to provide support to any victims who come forward.

– Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood

Potential victims with a complaint after 1974 are urged to go to their nearest police station to report it, or call the force on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police forces to investigate dead Liberal MP abuse claims

Greater Manchester Police will investigate any allegations of sexual abuse involving the former Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith from 1974 onwards, the force said.

It was confirmed that Lancashire Police would investigate any allegations of abuse before that date.

Following discussions between the Force and our colleagues at Lancashire Police, it has been agreed that Greater Manchester Police will now investigate any allegations of sexual abuse involving the late Sir Cyril Smith that happened from 1974 onwards.

We have taken this step to clear up any confusion that may have existed within the communities of Rochdale, and among the wider public, as to which Force is looking into the allegations.

The geographical boundaries were redrawn in 1974. Previously Rochdale was a part of Lancashire Police, but post-1974 it became part of Greater Manchester Police. Therefore, to make it explicitly clear, Greater Manchester Police will now investigate any reports of abuse that happened after 1974, and any abuse that happened before that date will be investigated by Lancashire Police.

– Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood

Labour MP's statement to the Commons

Former Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith was accused of abusing young boys in Rochdale during the 1960s, in a statement by Labour MP Simon Danczuk in the House Commons.

A Lancashire Constabulary spokesman said they were not planning to investigate the matter as there are no current allegations pending.

It said: "We believe there was an investigation in the late 1960s but as no records are now held it cannot be ascertained whether a file was passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions."

Read their full statement here.

Load more updates Back to top

Latest ITV News reports