Borders peer Lord Steel of Aikwood has been suspended by the Liberal Democrats pending an investigation into evidence he gave to an inquiry about child abuse claims made against late MP Cyril Smith.
The move was announced last Thursday following the former Scottish Parliament presiding officer’s appearance at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
The party had already announced it would begin disciplinary proceedings against the 80-year-old, of Selkirk, after he told the inquiry a conversation with Smith left him assuming the allegations were correct but then opted not to investigate them any further.
The ex-Borders MP’s suspension was agreed at a meeting of Scottish party chiefs and a statement issued by the party says: “Following the evidence concerning Cyril Smith given by Lord Steel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on March 13, the office bearers of the Scottish Liberal Democrats have met and agreed that an investigation is needed.
“The party membership of Lord Steel has been suspended pending the outcome of that investigation. That work will now commence. It is important that everyone in the party, and in wider society, understands the importance of vigilance and safeguarding to protect people from abuse and that everyone has confidence in the seriousness with which we take it.”