Cyril Smith – an apology is the very least we owe the victims

The Chief Executive of Rochdale Council has apologised for letting down the victims of Cyril Smith. It is time that the Liberal Democrats, as successor party to the Liberal Party made an apology to the victims too – not for any direct responsibility but the fact that he was able to use our party as a front for the “big Cyril”, “national treasure” image which helped him cover up earlier crimes. Cyril Smith is not a figure from ancient Liberal Party history. He was a Liberal Democrat MP for his last three years in parliament, he died in 2010 and his accusers were being criticised on this site as late as 2015.

Victims deserve the following actions from the party:

  1. An apology from the Leader of the Liberal Democrats that the party was unknowingly used as a front for Smith’s respectability.
  2. An inquiry into any remaining evidence about him within the party.
  3. A direction to the pastoral care officer to support any party activists who wish to talk about their own experiences with Smith.
  4. A direction that all references to Smith be removed from the Rochdale Lib Dems website (which has an extraordinary archive with cheery references to his 80th birthday and other events).

Editor’s Note:

The party’s position on this was made clear in a statement issued some time ago. 

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 or condoned by the Liberal Party or the Liberal Democrats.

We will continue to cooperate fully with the official inquiry and would encourage anyone with information to pass it on to the inquiry.

Comments are closed on this post because these issues are subject to an ongoing enquiry. Anyone who wants to give evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse should contact them here.

If any party member wishes to contact Jeanne Tarrant, the party’s Pastoral Care Officer, in connection with this, they  can email her on [email protected]

Update 23 October: Positive references to Smith have now been removed from the Rochdale Lib Dems’ website.

* Ruth Bright has been a councillor in Southwark and Parliamentary Candidate for Hampshire East

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Watson 15th Dec - 1:18pm
    On the "Education Policy Paper", recent party conferences have voted on: Grammar schools, calling on "the government to abandon the selection by ability and social...
  • User AvatarGeoffrey Payne 15th Dec - 1:06pm
    Well done to all involved, great results. I had a look into the "Something New" party and it looks like they are getting old. The...
  • User AvatarMartin 15th Dec - 1:00pm
    In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which,...
  • User AvatarGeoffrey Payne 15th Dec - 12:52pm
    I have a feeling this was going to be a much longer article but was thwarted by the 500 word limit. However it is certainly...
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 15th Dec - 12:31pm
    Why do we need a minister for railways ? We do not have one for the rather more important and efficient distribution and retailing of...
  • User AvatarJohn McHugo 15th Dec - 12:18pm
    Kirsten - thanks for sparking an interesting and (so-far!) well-mannered debate. As someone who is also Christian (Roman Catholic) and a Liberal Democrat, I identify...