Smith scandal draws in Thatcher and MI5

MP Cyril Smith

We’ve known for some time now that the vile MP Cyril Smith was a sexual predator whose depravity plumbed the depths. However only now are we beginning to learn the truth as it turns out both MI5 and Britain’s chief prosecutor at the time, knew Smith was a serial paedophile.

Not only that, but the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) lied to a newspaper over the decision not to prosecute Smith while MI5 knew Sir Thomas Hetherington, the then DPP, was deliberately covering up the scandal. Quite who is the worst offender in all of this is hard to know – the DPP for his cover up which enabled Smith to carry on with his abuse of young boys or MI5 which turned a blind eye to the whole sordid affair.

And to make matters worse, the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher agreed to sign off on Smith’s knighthood even though she was told about the skeletons in his closet. No wonder many of us treat The Establishment with such revulsion. The shocking disclosures are revealed in most of the British media today after the first day of hearings into how Smith, the former Liberal MP, was able to abuse boys at Cambridge House hostel and Knowl View residential school in Rochdale. The MP never faced prosecution because he died in 2010.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) released an MI5 briefing note which showed how Sir Thomas Hetherington, the then DPP, had lied to a local newspaper about the existence of a 1970 police inquiry into allegations of gross indecency made against Smith. Had the DPP admitted Smith had been under investigation, it would have led to a new inquiry and Smith being put on trial in his lifetime.

Hetherington contacted a legal adviser in the intelligence agency when local journalist David Bartlett of the Rochdale Alternative Press contacted him for a comment. The briefing note states: “After consultations, the DPP’s press representative had untruthfully told Bartlett that they had no record of this case. In fact their file closely accorded with the details given by Bartlett.”

So there we have it. Figures at the top of the British Establishment lied through their back teeth to protect a leading politician and police investigating Smith closed their case back in 1970 after Hetherington’s predecessor Sir Norman Skelhorn decided not to prosecute despite being handed compelling evidence. I don’t believe this was a one off, either. Just how many other men of political influence and power went to their graves with their reputations intact while their countless victims were left crying out for justice? The stench of hypocrisy in the corridors of power must be overwhelming as no doubt more shocking revelations will be revealed during this inquiry.

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