Friday, March 20, 2015

What the Liberal Party knew about Cyril Smith

Ruth Bright calls for those investigating the late Cyril Smith to be allowed to scrutinise the Liberal Democrats' archives,

I don't know that the party has or would refuse any such request, so far our reaction to the allegations has fallen short of complete openness.

As the Observer reported in April of last year:
"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 the Liberal Party or the Liberal Democrats." Party sources said there were no plans to launch further investigations.
Trouble is, at least in the case of the Liberal Party, it is not true that his actions were not know to the party.

First, there were Private Eye's allegations against him in 1979. Anyone active in any party would have read those. I have reproduced the page from the organ above and if you enlarge it you will be able to read it.

Second, there is the account of Smith's behaviour at the Manchester Central by-election in the same year that I have quoted here before:
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.
Third, there is the account of Dominic Carman, a recent Lib Dem candidate and the son of George Carman, who conducted Jeremy Thorpe's successful defence when he was charged with conspiracy to murder.

As the Guardian reported in February 2013:
"My father was told by Thorpe that senior Liberals knew of the serious nature of the allegations against Smith and that they dated back many years. I approached the police in December with information," Carman said. A spokesman for Greater Manchester police confirmed that an officer has spoken to Carman. 
Thorpe was cleared of plotting to murder Scott but failed to regain his political career. 
Another source who also claimed to have spoken to George Carman during the trial said that the barrister was concerned about the possible impact of further revelations in the Thorpe trial. 
"The reason that it was a genuine fear was because there were so many allegations against Smith involving boys that one assumed there was no smoke without fire," the source said.
So Ruth is right. The Liberal Democrats should do all they can to help expose the truth about Cyril Smith.


Anonymous said...

Yes the Lib Dems should and so should the Labour Party to whom I understand he belonged when these rumours etc started.
Although Im not a Lib Dem member and most likely to vote Labour at the GE - why do the Lib Dems again & again seem to take all the 'heat' on issues like these?
They should stand up & demand Labour comes clean on Smith as they will?????????? Instead they let a Labour MP put all the pressure on them & let Labour off the hook.

Frank Little said...

I agree with both you and Anonymous.