• STV
  • MySTV

Lord Steel 'should not be stripped of peerage' amid probe

The former Liberal leader was suspended from the party following comments made to an inquiry.

Politics: Sir Vince Cable and Lord Steel.
Politics: Sir Vince Cable and Lord Steel. Chris McAndrew

Sir Vince Cable has said that Lord Steel should not be stripped of his peerage, despite his suspension from the Liberal Democrats.

It was announced on Thursday that the former Liberal leader was being suspended following comments he made to an inquiry regarding child abuse allegations against former MP Sir Cyril Smith.

Speaking ahead of the Liberal Democrat spring conference in York, Mr Cable said: "We've set up a disciplinary body in Scotland, where he's a member, and he has been suspended while we look at the evidence and look at the possible sources.

"It's not good, and we worry a lot about people who have been victims of these terrible activities.

"But as far as David Steel's role, we have moved properly to suspend him, and there is now a thorough investigation into his role."

When asked whether Lord Steel should retain his peerage, Mr Cable said: "You can't take a peerage away until you establish that he's done things seriously wrong.

"There is the question of whether he remains a Liberal Democrat peer, and that depends really on the outcome of the investigation."

The comments follow the announcement that Lord Steel had been suspended from the party following comments he gave to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on Wednesday.

The former Liberal leader told the probe that a conversation he had with the late Smith in 1979 left him "assuming" that the child abuse allegations against the former Rochdale MP were correct.

Lord Steel, a former Scottish Parliament presiding officer, explained how the conversation was prompted by a story in Private Eye magazine, which itself had followed an article in the Rochdale Alternative Press suggesting that local MP Smith had been investigated by police over allegations of abuse against teenagers at the Cambridge House hostel in the town.

He told the inquiry: "He accepted the story was correct. Obviously I disapproved, but as far as I was concerned it was past history."

Following his comments, the Scottish Liberal Democrats said that disciplinary proceedings had been started against Lord Steel, before later announcing that he had been suspended from the party.

Smith, who passed away in 2010, is accused of sexual abusing a number of boys.

In a statement released before he was suspended on Thursday, Lord Steel said he wanted to "clarify what happened in 1979 when I asked Cyril Smith about the report in Private Eye".

He said that they had not discussed the details of the report, and said that Smith had said that "he had been investigated by the police at the time" and no action was taken against him.

On the same evening that Lord Steel's suspension was announced, Mr Cable revealed that he would be standing down as the party's leader in May in order to make way for a "new generation".

The 75-year-old said that, assuming there is not an early general election, the contest to succeed him will begin after forthcoming council elections.

When asked whether he had a successor in mind, the MP for Twickenham said that there are seemingly three people in the frame for the role, but added: "I'm not picking a successor.

"They've got to compete. I think it would be improper for me to start tipping and winking in one direction or the other."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.