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Review to examine allegations of 'culture of abuse'

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Independent review will appoint QC to look to see if there was a pattern or culture of abuse tolerated by Rochdale Council bt 1961-1995

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
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.

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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
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".

Read: Lib Dems must answer 'serious questions' on Cyril Smith

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
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."

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

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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.”

More: Young boys 'were victims of abuse' by Sir Cyril Smith

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.

'At least 11 potential suspects' in Rochdale abuse probe

Police have said they are looking at a possible 11 suspects over abuse at a school linked to the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith.

Smith allegedly abused boys in the 1960s when he was secretary of a hostel in Rochdale in Lancashire.

Greater Manchester Police said seven people had now come forward to say they were abused at Knowl View school, where Smith served as chairman of the governors.

Cyril Smith is accused of abusing young boys when he worked at a hostel in Rochdale Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The council-run school for vulnerable boys was shut down in mid 1990s.

Detective Inspector Caroline Ward said GMP were looking at "at least 11 potential suspects" in relation to alleged abuse at Knowl View "from the 1970s onwards".

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
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