28 Nov 2012

British police say Liberal MP abused boys in 1960s

8:22 pm on 28 November 2012

British police say a high-profile MP who died two years ago physically and sexually abused young boys in care homes in the 1960s.

Cyril Smith, a colourful character known for his outspoken opinions and large size, faced rumours of abuse throughout his 20 years in Parliament.

As secretary of the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association in north-west England, he was accused of abusing vulnerable youngsters by spanking and touching them, AFP reports.

Claims against the Liberal Party MP were investigated in 1970, 1998 and 1999, but no prosecution was ever brought.

Greater Manchester police now say a review of those decisions has found overwhelming evidence of abuse and if Mr Smith had faced the same allegations today, he would be charged and prosecuted.

Although there is no indication of any link, the revelation comes as police investigate 450 claims of sexual abuse of mainly young girls by Sir Jimmy Savile, a radio and television presenter who was one of the BBC's biggest stars in the 1970s and 1980s.

He died last year aged 84 without ever facing prosecution for the allegations.

Police have arrested four men in connection with the Savile investigation, including former glam rock star and convicted paedophile Gary Glitter.