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'It's right to consider charges of perjury...' victims' solicitor says ex-leader is 'unfit to be in public life'.

Byline: JENNIFER WILLIAMS @jenwilliamsmen

SHAMED Richard Farnell could face criminal action as police talk of 'possible offences.'.

In a statement Greater Manchester Police 'welcomed' the inquiry, adding: "GMP will look to consult with the inquiry in relation to any possible offences."

Meanwhile, the lawyer acting for Knowl View abuse victims has called for perjury charges to be considered against Mr Farnell.

Speaking shortly after the publication of the inquiry's report, Richard Scorer said the council's political culture was 'stuck in a backwards timewarp' that is in 'desperate need of reform.'.

The Slater and Gordon solicitor, who has represented victims of Rochdale's Knowl View and Cambridge House scandals for several years - including in legal action and during the IICSA inquiry - said: "It's a statutory inquiry and given they have said in terms that he's lied, it's right that perjury charges are considered."

He added: "My perception is that the attitude of staff in social services and education at Rochdale council towards child sexual exploitation has changed much for the better over the past few years, but Rochdale political culture is still stuck in a backwards timewarp and remains in desperate need of reform."

"The report confirms what we said last October," he said.

"Richard Farnell lied to the inquiry and it is now very clear that the Labour Party should have acted much more quickly to remove him as leader. He is unfit to be in public life."

Mr Scorer added: "For victims, this report bears out what they've been saying for decades and in the light of all of this, Cyril Smith should be posthumously stripped of his knighthood, because at least that would be acknowledgement from the establishment that they failed to recognise the depravity of his behaviour."

One former resident of Rochdale's Cambridge House hostel, who has reported being abused by the late MP and gave evidence to the inquiry, said he was 'disgusted but not surprised' by the findings of the report - adding that he still felt there had been a cover-up.

"I want those in authority to hold their hands up and admit their mistakes, that's all I've ever wanted," he said.

"People talk about closure, but there's no comfort or closure in hearing what we've known all along and it makes no difference for us.

"All this could have been stopped and the lives that were destroyed by this could have been saved. That's unforgivable and those responsible should hang their heads in shame."

The solicitor representing abuse victims says former Rochdale MP Cyril Smith should be posthumously stripped of his knighthood Richard Farnell pictured in 1990 as Rochdale council leader


Knowl View school

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Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Date:Apr 13, 2018
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