Police received at least 144 complaints by victims about late Liberal MP Sir Cyril, but MI5 and Special Branch put pressure on officers to drop investigations, new book claims
Politicians, police and M15 covered up former MP Sir Cyril Smith’s sexual abuse of vulnerable boys as young as eight for four decades, it has been claimed.
Police received at least 144 complaints by victims about the late Liberal MP Sir Cyril, but MI5 and Special Branch put pressure on officers to drop investigations, according to a new book.
The 29st MP for Rochdale was able to continue his abuse while the authorities blocked prosecutions, and the Liberal Party even put his name forward for a knighthood in 1988 in spite of the rumours of his activities circulating around Westminster, it has been alleged.
Former Liberal party leader David, now Lord Steel, nominated Sir Cyril for the honour despite knowing of the allegations about the MP, it was reported.
Lord Steel’s involvement only emerged in recent weeks after a Freedom of Information battle.
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The current Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg sent a celebratory message that was read out at Sir Cyril’s 80th birthday party, which said: “You were a beacon for our party in the ’70s and ’80s and continue to be an inspiration to the people of Rochdale.”
A new book, written by one of Sir Cyril’s successors as MP for the Lancashire constituency, Labour’s Simon Danczuk, also reveals that child porn was found in the late MP’s car but police were ordered to release him.
Sir Cyril, who died aged 82 in 2010, was arrested repeatedly for “acts of gross indecency with young lads” in public toilets but no action was taken, according to the book Smile for the Camera: the Double Life of Cyril Smith.
A member of the Liberal party, which later merged with the Social Democratic Party to become the Liberal Democrats, Sir Cyril was also a visitor to the notorious Elm Guest house in South-west London, which is now the focus of a Scotland Yard investigation into an alleged VIP paedophile ring, the Daily Mail reported.
Sir Cyril, who was MP for Rochdale between 1972 and 1992, was governor of almost 30 schools, and in the 1960s he helped to open Cambridge House children’s home, where he abused boys, often subjecting them to spurious medical examinations, according to the book.
But when police launched an investigation, a senior police officer intervened to stop it, it has been claimed.
The book, co-written by Matthew Baker, also claims that senior Labour figures’ support of the Paedophile Information Exchange helped keep Sir Cyril “hidden from scrutiny”.
It claims that police officers were threatened with dismissal and gagged by the Official Secrets Act if they tried to expose the Sir Cyril’s sexual abuse of boys.
Mr Danczuk, Rochdale MP since 2010, first raised Sir Cyril’s case in the House of Commons in 2012 after victims contacted him to tell of their ordeals.
Lord Steel was unavailable for comment. Last year, he said he had asked Cyril Smith about the allegations of child abuse and accepted his denial of wrongdoing, the Daily Mail reported.
A spokesman for Mr Clegg said: “Clearly he would never have paid tribute to Cyril Smith if he had had any idea about these horrible allegations.”
A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: “Cyril Smith’s acts were vile and repugnant and we have nothing but sympathy for those whose lives he ruined. His actions were not known to or condoned by anyone in the Liberal Party or the Liberal Democrats.”
By Melanie Hall11:22AM BST 12 Apr 2014
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