LORD Steel has said he was “relieved” an investigation launched after he gave evidence about child abuse allegations against former MP Sir Cyril Smith concluded there were “no grounds for action”.

The former Liberal leader had been suspended by the LibDems while the probe – sparked by evidence he gave to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) – was carried out.

The former Holyrood presiding officer said a conversation with Smith had left him “assuming” the allegations were correct, but that the party did not investigate them. An internal party investigation was carried out by the Scottish LibDems.

Party leader Willie Rennie said this had “determined, after careful consideration, that there are no grounds for action against David Steel”.

His suspension has now been lifted, with Lord Steel saying the party has “cleared my name”. He said: “I am naturally pleased and relieved the executive of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has completed their investigation and, after fully considering my responses to questions at IICSA, has lifted my suspension from the party and cleared my name.”

He said he had “offered open and honest answers [to the child abuse inquiry], some of which have been erroneously reported and taken out of context”.

He continued: “These inaccurate elements led some to question my own such commitment. Opinions and assumptions are not facts and those expressed in some quarters have caused me great personal distress ... I have always acted to uphold the highest standards. I look forward to contributing to the party’s cause and focusing on the shared commitment we have had for many years, which is to lead to improve the life opportunities of all young people, especially those who have had the toughest start.”

Rennie said it was important the party had carried out the investigation because “we take the issue of vigilance and safeguarding incredibly seriously”. But he stated: “The clarifications David Steel has provided to us state clearly that Cyril Smith did not confess to any criminality which is why he took no further action at the time.”