Dead MP’s alleged sex abuse of young boys in home must be investigated, MP Simon Danczuk urges police
Sir Cyril Smith, (pic below) the former Liberal Democrat MP, sexually abused boys and “reduced them to quivering wrecks”, an MP has claimed during a Commons debate.
Allegations that a former Lib Dem routinely abused young boys while serving in Parliament were unleashed by a Rochdale MP today.
Sir Cyril Smith is the latest high-profile public figure to be accused of child sex abuse after Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danczuk slammed the former MP for decades of scandal across the town.
Mr Danczuk, referring to the recent Rochdale grooming scandal, said: “Attempts to suppress the truth are not new in Rochdale.
“Sir Cyril Smith was a political giant in Rochdale but his career was continually dogged by allegations that he had abused boys…these allegations must be properly investigated and the seriousness of the victims’ complaints must be acknowleged.
“Young boys were humiliated, terrified and reduced to quivering wrecks by this 29-stone bully imposing himself on them.”
Mr Danczuk made the comments during a debate on child sexual exploitation.
Larger-than-life Sir Cyril, who died in 2010 while tipping to scales close to 30st, was previously accused of abusing children at a home in Rochdale during the 1960s and 70s – but Mr Danczuk demanded an investigation into people ‘turning a blind eye’.
Simon Danczuk said claims against the late MP had “circulated for years”.
“As we have seen from the recent Rochdale grooming trial there has been a willingness to turn a blind eye to child abuse in our town, and I believe this extends to the heart of Rochdale’s political establishment,” he said.
Three former residents of the home made sworn statements to a solicitor alleging Sir Cyril, a senior Labour councillor at the time, spanked and inappropriately touched them during the 1960s.
During a debate, Labour MP Mr Danczuk said they had been “young boys who were humiliated, terrified and reduced to quivering wrecks by a 29st bully imposing himself on them”.
“It is well known that Sir Cyril Smith was dogged by accusations of child abuse and I have recently spoken to people in Rochdale who have first-hand knowledge of the serious allegations made against him.
“Because of this I feel it’s absolutely necessary that police files on the alleged abuse of children at Cambridge House boys’ hostel finally see the light of day so we can get to the truth of what happened.”
Police were alerted to claims of abuse by Smith at the hostel but the case was dropped and no follow up action was ever taken.
Nine men were sentenced to a total of 96 years in jail as part Greater Manchester Police’s largest ever investigation into child sexual exploitation earlier this year.
The inquiry focused on allegations that five teenage girls in Rochdale were sexually exploited over a period of time by a group of 11 men.
A Parliamentary select committee are investigating the failings by social services that allowed the town’s most vulnerable girls to be targeted for sex by men.
The victims speak out – More from the victims at bottom of this page
Former residents of Cambridge House hostel in Rochdale (pic above) have gone on the record for the first time to explain how former Liberal MP Smith treated them as teenagers in the 1960s.
Barry Fitton, a former resident of the Cambridge House hostel in Rochdale, told the website politicshome.com that when he was 15 Smith would make him strip, smacked his bare bottom and then stroked his buttocks.
On another occasion, Smith subjected him to a “medical” that involved him stroking his thighs and testicles.
Another former resident, Eddie Shorrock, who was 17, said Smith, who founded the hostel and had keys to its premises, also gave him a “medical” whenever he took time off work.
Mr Danczuk said a third victim, who wished to remain anonymous, had contacted him today to describe the “abuse meted out by Sir Cyril”.
Rumours about child abuse dogged Smith for much of his life, and appeared in a local magazine and in Private Eye in 1979.
Allegations of sexual abuse
Allegations that in the 1960s he had spanked and sexually abused teenage boys in a hostel that he co-founded, and that the matter was investigated by police but not pursued by prosecutors, were made in May 1979 by a local underground magazine, the Rochdale Alternative Press. The story was repeated in the same month by the national satirical magazine Private Eye. No public denial or legal action ensued, but after Smith’s death the allegations were denied by his family
Profile on Cyril Smith
Sir Cyril Smith MBE (28 June 1928 – 3 September 2010) was a British politician who served as Liberal and Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Rochdale from 1972 until his retirement in 1992.
He was born in Rochdale, and was, as he once described himself, “illegitimate, deprived and poor”. Though he never knew the name of his father, he commented “I suspect I know who he was”. He lived with his mother and two other illegitimate siblings, Eunice and Norman, and grandmother in a one-up one-down cottage (now demolished) on Falinge Rd. His mother, Eva Smith, worked in service to a local cotton mill owning family who lived at 8 Kilnerdyne Terrace
According to his autobiography, Smith was found guilty of an offence relating to public lotteries. He was bound over to keep the peace for 12 months.
During the 1960s Smith was active in many Rochdale Council committees regarding youth activities. These included: Rochdale Youth Orchestra, Rochdale Youth Theatre Workshop, Governorship of 29 Rochdale schools and Chairmanship of the Youth Committee, Youth Employment Committee and the Education Committee.
Having been Liberal candidate in Rochdale at the 1970 general election when he took the party to second place, Smith won the seat at the 1972 by-election with a large swing from Labour to the Liberals. Smith won with a majority of 5,171. He won the seat on five further occasions. In June 1975 Smith was appointed as the Liberals’ Chief Whip and faced much pressure from the press in the wake of a sexual scandal involving party leader Jeremy Thorpe. Smith resigned from the Whips’ Office on health grounds. Speaking to Granada Television in 2003, David Steel reflected on events in the 1970s with the conclusion:
“Cyril was not an ideal Chief Whip because he did not handle a crisis well and had a tendency to say anything to a news camera“
In 1978 Smith approached former Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath to discuss forming a new Centre Party. In 1981 Smith was involved in moves to create “a party with a new image” but, according to the Rochdale Observer, at the foundation of the SDP in 1981 he warned Liberal Party colleagues to move with caution. Smith was quoted as being “opposed to an alliance at any price”.
He was knighted in 1988