Nick Clegg insisted today that neither he, nor his party knew anything about claims its former MP, Sir Cyril Smith, abused children for four decades.Sir Cyril died four years ago but police have identified 11 other suspects.
Nick Clegg as sought to distance the Liberal Democrats from the "repugnant" allegations against former MP Sir Cyril Smith, insisting that the party never knew of his actions.
At a Westminster press conference the Lib Dem leader insisted his party was unaware of the "truly horrific" actions carried out by Sir Cyril.
Asked if there should be an independent inquiry into what the party knew he said: "These are incredibly serious revelations, repugnant ones, about Cyril Smith. They stretch back to the 1950s, the 1960s.
"My party, the Liberal Democrats, did not know about these actions. It's up to the police - these are very serious matters which the police may well want to look into and it will be up to the police to conduct those investigations. They are the right people to look into these things."
Business Secretary Vince Cable has spoken about the "horrific" allegations that the late MP Sir Cyril Smith sexually and physically abused young boys in the 1960s, saying that the suggestion of an establishment cover up was "very serious".
Speaking as one of the guests on The Agenda with Tom Bradby on ITV tonight, Mr Cable said:
“It is horrific, it is really horrible. Let’s remember this was a very long time ago. We’re talking 40-50 years ago. This is the Saville era. I mean I was actually a member of the labour party when all of this happened. I’ve no personal recollection of it.”
Rochdale's current MP says there are still questions to answer over whether there was a cover-up. Simon Danczuk says Cyril Smith's victims have been let down by the Crown Prosecution Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
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.