Date published: 05 November 2008
Sir Cyril Smith
Picking up on documents first brought into the public domain by Rochdale Online, The Daily Mirror newspaper has called for Sir Cyril Smith to be stripped of his knighthood after the documents showed links between Rochdale’s former MP and the asbestos giant, Turner & Newall.
Referring to correspondance between Sir Cyril and T&N that was first published on Rochdale Online, the Daily Mirror’s Associate Editor, Kevin Maguire, said the documents suggested that 'Smith was too close to Turner & Newall for the health of the nation'.
Maguire added: “In 1981, amid a public clamour for a ban on the carcinogen, Smith was wining and dining company bosses and booking seats for them to hear him deliver a speech in the Commons, which he asked them to write.”
Maguire recently travelled to Rochdale to present this evidence to Sir Cyril and in his article he was scathing at what he called the “astonishing brass neck” of the former MP.
After questioning him about the speech he asked to be written for him by Turner & Newall, Sir Cyril responded: “Of course the speech was extremely useful to me because it made me sound as if I could speak intelligently on a subject I knew little about.”
Under further questioning he maintained that 4,000 deaths caused every year by asbestos cancer was “relatively low” and said: “It’s not like, how can I put it it, like flu and contagious. It wasn’t infectious in the sense you can have a man and wife and one would have it and the other wouldn’t.”
Rochdale’s Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Simon Danczuk, has condemned Sir Cyril’s explanation as “ignorant ravings”, pointing out that partners do die from being exposed to the deadly fibres. As do members of the general public.
Mr Danczuk has also criticised his rival, Paul Rowen MP for not condemning Sir Cyril's connections with T&N.
He said: "This cover-up will no longer wash and the public have a right to know how they were let down by someone they trusted to represent their best interests.”
Rochdale Councillor Ibrar Khan has called for a public apology from Sir Cyril Smith.
“The disgraceful actions of Sir Cyril Smith in Parliament have done more to destroy the credibility of Parliament than Guy Fawkes ever could,” said Councillor Khan. “I hope he will finally admit his mistakes in this sorry affair and apologise for misleading his constituents.”