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Friday 29 January 2016

Danczuk Cyril Smith Book Panned AGAIN

Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk faces yet more adverse comment on his latest expenses problem, with first wife Sonia Rossington accusing him of beingeconomical with the truth” over claims for dependent children. While the MP says “When I initiated the claim in 2011 all four children used to stay with me in Rochdale on a regular basis, and I would have assumed quite rightly that the same would have happened in London”, his ex-wife is having none of it.
The children have not stayed overnight in Rochdale with Simon since [2009]” she told Rochdale Online - meaning the two children from their relationship. And it gets worse for Danczuk, as Smile For The Camera, the book on Cyril Smith he co-wrote with sidekick Matt Baker, has been subjected to a thorough panning over its research and accuracy by Les May, the account now being published online via the Northern Voices blog.

May was a long-time colleague of John Walker, who met with Danczuk several times in London and then in Rochdale - at his own expense - about a book charting Smith and his actions, only for Baker and his boss to go cold on the idea and shut him out (Walker’s recollection can be seen HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE). His critique has focused on the book’s research, and specifically on the Knowl View residential school.

He bought a copy of the book on the basis of its favourable publicity, but soon concluded “I assumed it was filled with solid evidence that Cyril continued and extended his sordid activities after the closure of Cambridge House in the mid 1960s. It isn’t" (Smith’s Cambridge House years were the subject of the Rochdale Alternative Paper report of 1979 that was then picked up on by Private Eye).

Some narrative appeared to be duplicated. The recollections of Smith’s alleged victims were told in language which was oddly over-descriptive, and stood in stark contrast to the accounts published by RAP. Above all, readers were reminded that Smith “had a team of people behind him”, that the MP was being “protected”. And then there is Knowl View.

Nobody disputes that some of the boys at Knowl View indulged in homosexual activities. There were cases of “cottaging” in nearby public toilets. One rent boy had to be removed from the school. But, as May points out, despite Danczuk and Baker’s book suggesting that Smith’s name appeared in the report on goings-on at Knowl View, it did not.

By now, Zelo Street regulars may be experiencing a sense of déjà vu: I’ve already told of the claims in the book about Smith being stopped on the M1 by Northants Police and caught with a stash of child porn in his car, which were then investigated and shown to be bunk. Both Danczuk and Baker were asked what evidence they had to back up their claims, yet they could not produce any. Once again, the book claimed that “powerful people” were “protecting” Cyril Smith.

As Les May says, Smith emerges as a not very nice person. But that did not make him a paedophile. Putting May’s analysis - based on actual evidence - alongside the Northants Police episode, which was backed up by a detailed FoI exchange, leads to one conclusion: the Danczuk and Baker book on Smith is at best seriously flawed, and at worst could well be little more than well-written and descriptive rumour and speculation.

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