It may feel like the last scandal but four, but it is time to catch up with the accusations against Cyril Smith.
Back in March 2013 I quoted an account of Smith at work:
Cyril Smith sat next to a 14 year old boy (I deliberately kept him away from the young girls after his lewd comments). He bantered with anyone – old, middle aged or young… and then his left hand moved onto the groin area of the 14 year old boy. The boy jumped sky-high!
My late hubby saw it and moved in very quickly (he sent me a signal to get the 14 year old boy into a safe space next to me). Hubby placed a firm hand on Cyril Smith’s shoulder whilst he ‘whispered’ in Smith’s ear. I believe that my late hubby told Cyril Smith to either remove himself immediately (without bother) or my hubby would remove him without ceremony.
How my 12 stone hubby would have removed a 30 stone MP I don’t know! Maybe we are sometimes empowered by the sense of indignity, right and safeguarding of those in our care. Cyril Smith did leave my flat without a fuss. My hubby reported this incident to the local police, Liberal Headquarters and the Region.The full account can be found on The Needle.
In April of this year the Daily Mail published an article by Simon Danczuk, which took the same witness's story forward:
The Liberals, however, realised the seriousness of the matter, and a few days later, an organiser came round to see her. He offered to give them £200 in ‘expenses’ to cover any ‘inconvenience’ they’d suffered. It was more than Julie earned in a month as a teacher.
Julie and her husband were aghast. They knew he was trying to buy their silence and turned the offer down flat.
‘We wouldn’t take a penny,’ she told me, the disgust still there in her voice.
It was a watershed moment. The couple’s involvement in the Liberal Party stopped there. They didn’t want to be part of a party that brushed incidents like this under the carpet.This is deeply worrying to someone like me, who was a member of the Liberals in those days.
Go back to The Needle and you will find the same lady leaving a comment. She does not challenge the central point that she was offered money - in fact she does not mention it, but she would surely have done so if it were not true.
But she does accuse Danczuk of embellishing her story:
- I have never met Simon Danzcuk (I met Matt Baker)
- I did not drink tea (I drank coffee)
- There is no photo of the 14 year old staring out with innocent eyes next to Cyril Smith ...
- I didn’t watch with horror (I saw the 14 year old jump up, it was my late [husband] ... who saw what had happened to cause the jump.)
Everyone who was around in the party in those days knew their were stories about Smith - they had appeared in Private Eye. But I fear the Liberal Party high command knew more about them than the rest of us.
- The activists did not look around and stare with amazement and disgust (it was dealt with in a manner to cause the least amount of distress at that time). In fact, I told the police and MB that one of our older activists complained that Cyril Smith hadn’t stayed long and had only addressed 3 envelopes!