Swinson: party has begun a disciplinary investigation into David Steel

Earlier today the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Jo Swinson tweeted the former Liberal Party Leader and Liberal Democrat peer David Steel is facing investigation:
Jo Swinson - David Steel being investigated over Cyril Smith
This news follows the former Liberal Party Leader’s evidence to the Independent Investigation into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) this week, in which:

Lord Steel, the Liberal Democrat peer, has admitted believing in 1979 that child abuse allegations against Sir Cyril Smith were true, but did nothing to assess whether he was a continuing risk to children.

The former Liberal party leader said the late MP for Rochdale confirmed in a conversation that reports of child sexual abuse in the media were accurate…

The hearing heard that Steel passed a recommendation that Smith should receive a knighthood in 1988, which was successful. Steel said he did not mention his conversation about sexual abuse to the honours committee.

β€œIt never occurred to me to tell the honours committee about it. It was all, in a sense, in the public domain through Private Eye,” he said. [The Guardian]

I have occasionally recently highlighted cases involving other parties as a reminder to fellow Liberal Democrats about how important it is that we complete the reforms of our own disciplinary processes – in particular, giving them a robust independent standing.

This case is a reminder from rather closer to home – and let’s hope that the old processes, still currently in place, cope successfully. Whatever the outcome, it needs to be one that is robust, fair and not massively delayed in coming.

UPDATE: David Steel has been suspending, pending the outcome of the investigation.


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