In his first broadcast interview since new allegations emerged about sexual abuse committed by the late Liberal MP for Rochdale at a residential school, Steel said evidence at the time merely suggested Smith had been involved in administering corporal punishment…
Steel said he challenged Smith after the Rochdale Alternative Press published claims in 1979 based on sworn affidavits from seven alleged victims of the MP at the Cambridge House Hostel from the early 1960s. These allegations were followed up by Private Eye.
John Walker, the joint editor of the Rochdale Alternative Press, told the BBC that the Liberal party press office told him on 22 April 1979: “It is not a very friendly gesture [publishing the allegations]. All he seems to have done is spank a few bare bottoms.”
Even in 1979, it was not acceptable for a fifty-year old politician, a “confirmed bachelor”, to spank bare bottoms in a hostel for boys that he had, himself, founded.