Scotland politics

David Steel's suspension 'lifted by Lib Dems'

Lord Steel Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lord Steel was suspended following his evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in March

The Liberal Democrats have lifted the suspension of former leader David Steel, according to a senior party source.

Lord Steel had the whip removed over comments he made to a child abuse inquiry about the late MP Cyril Smith.

The source told the BBC that the whip had now been restored while the party recast the procedure being followed in its investigation into the comments.

The Scottish Lib Dems have refused to comment.

A spokeswoman said: "There is a process ongoing and we won't be commenting until it has concluded."

Image copyright
Image caption Lord Steel pictured on the far left of this meeting of the House of Lords on 8 May, sitting next to Lib Dem peers.

Lord Steel, a former presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, was pictured sitting with Lib Dem peers in the Lords on Wednesday.

Speaking to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in March, Lord Steel said he asked Smith in 1979 about claims he abused boys at a Rochdale hostel in the 1960s.

He said he came away from the conversation "assuming" that Smith had committed the offences.

However, he said he took no further action because "it was before he was an MP, before he was even a member of my party. It had nothing to do with me."

Lord Steel's membership was subsequently suspended and the whip removed pending an investigation.