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Review into Smith 'abuse cover-up' expected in July

The leader of Rochdale Council, Colin Lambert, said he expected the widened review into abuse allegations at the town's Knowl View School will be completed by the end of July.

Led by Neil Garnham QC, the major inquiry will look at claims of historical sex abuse linked to late Liberal Democrat MP Sir Cyril Smith, at premises owned, managed or operated by the council from 1961 to 1995.

Mr Garnham will be tasked with identifying whether there was a pattern to such abuse, whether it was tolerated, facilitated or promoted by the council or its officers and staff, and whether there was a council culture that "inhibited the proper investigation, exposure and prevention of such abuse".

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Police appeal for Knowl View victims to come forward

Cyril Smith

The investigation into sex abuse at Knowl View School in Rochdale, linked to the dead MP Cyril Smith, will widen the scope of its review to consider the allegations of abuse, and the town council's reaction to them.

Leader of Rochdale Council Colin Lambert appeared with Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, who appealed for victims to come forward and said police trying to trace 'a significant number' of victims.

Chief Constable Fahy also said police have a 'number' of suspects, but have made no arrests at the moment.

Police said these cases are 'extremely difficult' and take time, but his force were determined to carry out a thorough investigation.

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'New suspects identified' in Sir Cyril Smith investigation

The leader of Rochdale Council has announced an external review will be held into allegations of child sex abuse at a school in the region made against the late MP Cyril Smith, as well as an inquiry into allegations of a "cover-up" within the local authority.

Cyril Smith pictured in 1991 Credit: PA

"In light of the serious investigations made in the last few weeks we've decided to widen the scope of the review beyond the council's decision-making," Colin Lambert said at a press conference.

Greater Manchester Police said new suspects and victims had been identified and appealed for any victims of abuse to come forward and then police will see if a criminal investigation is justified.

He said there had been no arrests made as yet.

Sir Cyril Smith's family has refuted the sex abuse allegations levelled against the late Liberal Democrat MP.

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Review to examine allegations of 'culture of abuse'

The review into abuse allegations at Knowl View in Rochdale will examine if there was a "culture of abuse" at the school.

Police update on Sir Cyril Smith abuse 'cover-up' claims

Police looking into whether there is evidence of a criminal cover-up over allegations of child sex abuse at a school linked to the late MP Sir Cyril Smith are due to hold a news conference this morning.

Cyril Smith pictured in 1990 Credit: PA

Representatives from Greater Manchester Police and Rochdale Borough Council will give an update on the claims over Knowl View residential school in Rochdale.

Sir Cyril, who died in 2010 aged 82, was previously a Liberal Democrat MP for the same constituency and is alleged to have sexually abused boys at the school.

Claims made against former Lib Dem MP Cyril Smith

Allegations of sexual abuse have been made against Sir Cyril Smith in a new book by the Labour MP for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk.

Cyril Smith pictured in 1991 Credit: John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sir Cyril was previously a Liberal Democrat MP for the same constituency, and allegedly raped boys at Knowl View residential school and abused boys at the privately run Cambridge House children's care home.

Liberal Democrat President Tim Farron said the party needs to answer "serious questions" about who knew Sir Cyril faced allegations of sexual abuse.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg last year said the allegations against Sir Cyril should be investigated "to the bitter end".

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Lib Dems must answer 'serious questions' on Cyril Smith

The President of the Liberal Democrats has said the party needs to answer "serious questions" about who knew allegations of sexual assault had been made against their former MP Sir Cyril Smith.

Cyril Smith (left) pictured in 2005 with then Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Police are looking into claims that Sir Cyril sexually abused boys at homes and hostels in Rochdale, where he was an MP. Sir Cyril died in 2010 aged 82.

The party's president, Tim Farron, said a current police inquiry is the best way to deal with the claims, according to the BBC.

Nick Clegg defends party in Sir Cyril Smith furore

Rochdale's Liberal MP, Cyril Smith pictured in 1974. Credit: PA Archive

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."

Cable: Allegations of Cyril Smith cover up 'very serious'

File photo dated 01/05/91 of the late Sir Cyril Smith. Credit: John Giles/PA Wire

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.”

When questioned on whether the case was an establishment cover up, Cable commented:

“That’s the suggestion, I mean these are allegations. They are very serious. This is criminal paedophilia on a very large scale. It’s absolutely awful.”

The Agenda with Tom Bradby is on ITV tonight at 10:35pm.

Get involved in the debate during the show using the hashtag #theagenda and following @agendaitv.

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