David Steel’s sus­pen­sion over Cyril Smith com­ments lifted by Lib Dems

The Scotsman - - NEWS DIGEST - By AN­GUS HOWARTH

The Lib­eral Democrats have lifted the sus­pen­sion of for­mer leader David Steel, it has been re­ported.

Lord Steel had t he whip re­moved over com­ments he made to a child abuse in­quiry about the late MP Cyril Smith.

Speak­ing to the In­de­pen­dent In­quiry into Child Sex­ual Abuse in March, Lord Steel said he asked Smith in 1979 about claims he abused boys at a Rochdale hos­tel in the 1960s.

He said he came away from the con­ver­sa­tion “as­sum­ing” that Smith had com­mit­ted the of­fences.

How­ever, he said he took no fur­ther ac­tion be­cause “it was be­fore he was an MP, be­fore he was even a mem­ber of my party. It had noth­ing to do with me”.

Lord Steel’s mem­ber­ship was sub­se­quently sus­pended and the whip re­moved pend­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

It has been re­ported that the whip had now been re­stored while the party re­cast the pro­ce­dure be­ing fol­lowed in its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the com­ments.

Lord Steel, a for­mer pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer of the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, was pic­tured sit­ting with Lib Dem peers i n t he Lords on Wed­nes­day.

A spokes­woman for the Scot­tish Lib Dems said: “There is a process on­go­ing and we won’t be com­ment­ing un­til it has con­cluded.”

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