A Liberal Democrat leader in Northampton said she was “horrified” that a Conservative councillor made a joke about the late Cyril Smith, who has been accused of being a paedophile, during a full council meeting.
Northampton Borough Councillor Sally Beardsworth (Lib Dem, Kingsthorpe) complained after Councillor Michael Hill (Con, Nene Valley) said maintaining a promise from a Liberal Democrat manifesto was a “bit like putting Cyril Smith in charge of child protection”. After an immediate objection to the comment was made by Councillor Beardsworth to the Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Les Marriott, Councillor Hill was asked to withdraw the comment, which he did.
But Councillor Beardsworth said she was horrified that Councillor Hill made the remark in such a public forum.
She said: “A lot of children have suffered terribly at the hands of paedophiles and to make that quip at their expense I thought was horrifying.
“I have been on the adoption panel for years and I know how damaged children can be by paedophiles, so it is not something you jest about. I think it back-fired.”
Councillor David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Coucnil, said he thought the remark was inappropriate and said he was pleased Councillor Hill withdrew his comments
On Monday, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said a number of suspects had been identified as part of an investigation into alleged sexual abuse at a school linked to the late MP, Cyril Smith.