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MI5 'link to abuse cover-up' claim

MI5 may have been involved in a cover-up to silence child abuse allegations against prominent Liberal Democrat Sir Cyril Smith, an MP has claimed.

Labour's Simon Danczuk asked Home Secretary Theresa May to investigate whether spies helped hush up long-standing accusations about Sir Cyril, who died two years ago.

Mr Danczuk, the MP for Sir Cyril's old constituency of Rochdale, last week repeated claims the Lib Dem spanked boys' naked bottoms after being given "a disciplinarian role" at a Lancashire children's home decades ago.

Mr Danczuk said: "Following my comments in the House about Cyril Smith's abuse of boys, I understand the Crown Prosecution Service has now located investigation files against Mr Smith from the 1960s.

"Can the Home Secretary now look at whether it's true the Director of Public Prosecutions at the time received a second opinion recommending Smith be prosecuted; why he concluded it was not in the public interest; what role, if any the Security Service played; and how the Government now intends getting to the bottom of what several former police officers are now referring to as 'a cover-up'?"

Speaking at Home Office questions in the Commons, Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said members of the public should report crimes to the police, while fears of a police conspiracy should be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Lib Dem Mr Browne added: "Obviously we would expect those authorities to act on the information provided to them."

Last week Mr Danczuk told the Commons Sir Cyril was at the centre of claims he slapped children's buttocks in the 1960s and 1970s.

Mr Danczuk said then: "Young boys were humiliated, terrified and reduced to quivering wrecks by a 29st bully imposing himself on them."

Rochdale Council have removed a blue plaque honouring Sir Cyril amid fears it would be vandalised. The memorial tribute to the former MP was placed on a wall at Rochdale Town Hall last year but was removed over the weekend.

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