Independent inquiry to probe Cyril Smith sexual abuse ‘cover-up’

An independent inquiry will investigate claims of a criminal cover-up of the alleged sexual abuse of children at Rochdale schools by Sir Cyril Smith.

A QC-led review will examine whether Rochdale council membersor officials may have blocked attempts by police to prosecute the late Liberal Democrat MP, the council leader has announced.

There are already police investigations into the alleged sexual abuse of children at Knowl View residential school and Cambridge House children’s care home.

So far, seven people have come forward with complaints against Smith.

Rochdale council had already commissioned a QC-led inquiry into the accusations of abuse at the Knowl View school but it was today announced this has been expanded.

It follows new information released in a book by the Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who now has the Rochdale seat Sir Cyril used to hold.

In the book, Mr Danczuk claims police repeatedly investigated sex abuse allegations against Sir Cyril, a former Labour councillor in Rochdale who served as an MP from 1972-92.

He said attempts to prosecute him were blocked and police officers threatened with the sack in corruption that could be traced back to the “very top of the establishment”.

Mr Danczuk told Sky News: “Everyone has known for 20 years that there has been a cover-up.”

He said it was time arrests were made.

The Liberal Democrats have come under increasing pressure on the matter from those who say the accusations against Sir Cyril were so widely known it is a “nonsense” to suggest no one knew about it.

Sir Cyril’s family have always denied the allegations made against him, details of which were first published in 1979.