Council bosses have taken down a Rochdale town hall plaque honouring Sir Cyril Smith – as six more people came forward to allege they were abused by the former MP.
They say the tribute – which was put up last year – has had to come down after it was threatened with vandalism.
Council leader Colin Lambert said he and chief executive Jim Taylor came to the decision to remove the plaque.
Coun Lambert said:“We make no judgement on the situation with Cyril Smith, but the strength of public feeling is such that we have been alerted to a potential threat to the town hall.”
Coun Lambert said there had been internal discussions about the plaque since last week, when child abuse allegations against the former MP resurfaced.
All six of the new allegations against Sir Cyril Smith, who died in 2010, have been made to the office of the town’s current MP, Simon Danczuk.
Mr Danczuk has already named two other alleged victims in Parliament, while another has taken his case to Manchester law firm Pannone.
None of the alleged victims has yet taken their cases to the police – although detectives have urged them, and anyone else who believes they have been abused by Sir Cyril, to do so.
In one of the latest cases to emerge, a man, who wishes to remain anonymous, he was a pupil aged 12 or 13 at Kingsway High in Rochdale when he was fondled by Sir Cyril during a routine medical.
He added: “The nurse had come round to check us for nits… that sort of thing. Cyril was there.” The man went on to describe how Sir Cyril abused him. He added: “I was scared. I didn’t know what was going on. It makes me sick. I think it hasn’t come out because of who he was. It’s like Jimmy Savile – he was similar. In Rochdale, he was like that.
“He was Cyril Smith. He was almost godlike. He used to go around schools all the time.
“It was ‘guess who’s coming today, Cyril Smith is coming to see us all today so you’d better behave’. It was like he ran the place.”
Barry Fitton, one of two alleged victims named in Parliament, said he was 15 when he was abused by Sir Cyril in Cambridge House boys’ hostel in Rochdale. Another, Eddie Shorrock, said he was 17 when the politician ordered him to strip at the hostel.
Following the revelations, Lancashire Police have for the first time gone public to ask any potential victims of Sir Cyril to come forward.
Police examining records
Greater Manchester Police said today the force is examining its records in relation to Sir Cyril Smith.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood urged any victims of sexual abuse to come forward.
The force’s records are being assessed to determine whether any investigation was launched in the 1980s and 1990s.
The police chief said: “We are aware of reports in the media that Greater Manchester Police may have investigated allegations of sexual abuse involving the late Sir Cyril Smith in the 1980s and 1990s.
“We are examining our records to see what involvement Greater Manchester Police may have had. However, we need to be clear that some of these allegations are up to 30-years-old and predate our computerised records, so it will take some time to establish what, if any, the force’s involvement was.
“What I can say with clarity is that we are continuing to provide support to Lancashire Police who retain primacy for the current investigation.