MENZIES Campbell has reportedly warned Willie Rennie he’ll leave the LibDems if David Steel is expelled from the party for protecting a paedophile.

The Scottish LibDems are bracing themselves for a difficult afternoon, with the publication of a report into Westminster child sex abuse apparently set to castigate the former Presiding Officer for his historical failure to act over predatory beast Cyril Smith.

Reports last week suggested the party would expel Steel over his inaction, but that in turn led to threats from other senior figures that they would walk if Steel was made a scapegoat.

The report’s publication could also lead to difficult questions for Scottish LibDems.

Last year an investigation by Rennie and the party’s executive group determined that there were “no grounds for action” against their ex-leader.

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According to reports in the Telegraph, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) will criticise Steel over his admission that he failed to pass on suspicions that fellow Liberal MP Smith was abusing boys.

The paper says that a committee of senior LibDem is being convened to discuss Lord Steel’s future in the party once the document is made public.

Steel was briefly suspended from the party last year after he told the probe about a meeting he had with Smith in 1979 about claims he had abused boys at a Rochdale hostel in the 1960s.

Steel, who was the leader of the party between 1976 and 1988, said he had discussed the allegations with Smith after an article appeared in Private Eye magazine alleging that he had been spanking boys and conducting intimate “medical examinations” with the children.

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The 81-year-old told IICSA that “the matter had been investigated by police, no further action was taken and that was the end of the story”.

But in exchanges with inquiry counsel Brian Altman QC, the peer appeared to agree that he had “assumed” the allegations were true “nothing to do with me”.

The National: David SteelDavid Steel

Police believe Smith, who was the MP for Rochdale between 1972 and 1992 was a serial sex abuser of boys.

In 2012 the Crown Prosecution Service admitted that the politician should have been charged with the crimes more than 40 years ago.

Some of the boys abused by Smith, who weighed 29-stone, were just nine years old.

Steel, who sits in the Lords, is also set to be criticised in the report for recommending Smith for a knighthood in 1988.

The Telegraph claimed Steel’s expulsion from the party could lead to others quitting the party, including Campbell. The paper quoted close friends of Steel accusing IICSA of “scraping the barrel” and making him a scapegoat in order to justify the huge cost of the inquiry.

A friend of Steel told the paper: “This is really low-hanging fruit for IICSA. There is no allegation about Lord Steel’s personal behaviour, but the way in which he dealt with some publicity about Smith which he raised with him 40 years ago.” The Scottish LibDems declined to comment.