13 Nov 2012

MP calls for fresh inquiry over Cyril Smith abuse claims

A Labour MP tells parliament that 40-year-old police files relating to allegations that the former Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith abused young boys in a care home should be disclosed.

Sir Cyril Smith was the Liberal MP for Rochdale (Getty)

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk is calling for a fresh inquiry into claims against his predecessor, who died in 2010, after residents at a boys’ hostel claimed described how the physical and sexual abuse they received from him.

Sir Cyril Smith became the latest public figure to be accused of abuse after two former residents of Cambridge House hostel in Rochdale went on the record for the first time making claims about how the former Liberal MP Smith treated them as teenagers in the 1960s.

Mr Danczuk told MPs how one resident said that Sir Cyril punished him by bending him over his knee and hitting his backside with his bare hand, while he pleaded with the former Rochdale MP to stop.

Sir Cyril faced accusations during his career that he had abused young boys at Cambridge House, which he had founded in the 1960s.

Mr Danczuk said that the former MP had been given a disciplinary role and had “free reign” to apply punishment within the home.

He told MPs that the victims had been “reduced to quivering wrecks by a 29 stone bully imposing himself on them”.

The MP said that Lancashire police, the force that covered the town in the late 1960s, had investigated claims of sexual “punishments” and taken statements from a number of boys.

Mr Danczuk alleged that this investigation had been pushed to the director of public prosecutions but that they did not result in any prosecution. But he said that more people have come forward.

The Manchester Evening News has reported that a law firm said a man had come to them with allegations that he was abused by Sir Cyril in the 1970s.

The firm, Pannone, told the newspaper that it is yet to speak to the man in detail to determine the “full extent” of the allegations.

Why now, when he is dead?

The claims about Sir Cyril follow revelations about the television personality Sir Jimmy Savile and the former parliamentary private secretary to Margaret Thatcher, Sir Peter Morrison, both of whom are now dead.

Allegations against both of these men include abuse that took place within institutions, including care homes.

The brother of Sir Cyril Smith attacked Mr Danczuk for calling for a fresh inquiry.

Sir Cyril’s brother Norman told the Manchester Evening News that he was “staggered” his brother’s integrity was being attacked.

He added: “I cannot believe our MP is questioning Cyril. Why now, when he is dead? Cyril always refuted doing anything wrong and that was proved by Lancashire constabulary who said there was no case to answer.”