Sir Cyril Smith abuse claims: Blue plaque taken down

Date published: 15 November 2012

A blue plaque honouring the late Rochdale MP Sir Cyril Smith has been taken down following allegations that he indecently assaulted young boys.

The council said removing the plaque from Rochdale Town Hall was a "neutral act" to prevent vandalism.

On Tuesday, Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk called for a "full investigation" into allegations that Sir Cyril indecently assaulted boys in care.

Sir Cyril's brother said the former MP had denied the allegations.

The plaque was unveiled last year by former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell.

Councillor Colin Lambert (Labour), the leader of Rochdale Council, said: "This is not a judgement on either Sir Cyril Smith or anyone else."

He added: "We discussed this at a meeting last night and had decided to leave it up but we received information that it could be damaged overnight and took it down because this would be a danger to the town hall."

On Wednesday Barry Fitton, one of three alleged victims from a Rochdale care home, claimed that the former MP smacked him and stroked his buttocks.

'Historic abuse'

Mr Danczuk (Labour) told the Commons that claims against the late MP had "circulated for years".

Lancashire Police said an investigation was "believed" to have taken place in the 1960s, but "no records are held".

Mr Danczuk said police "should consider reopening the case".

Manchester-based solicitors Pannone confirmed they were currently dealing with an allegation of abuse against Sir Cyril, who died in 2010.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.