DAVID Steel was suspended from the LibDems in March 2019 after he told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse that he knew about the serious allegations made against Cyril Smith and did nothing about them.

The investigation was led by the Scottish party’s executive group, which is believed to include Willie Rennie and Alistair Carmichael.

In May they revoked the suspension saying there were no “grounds to answer”.

Rennie said the issue had boiled down to “a hearing difficulty and a lack of precision in providing some answers” on the part of Lord Steel.

He added: “The clarifications that 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.”

However, in their report on Tuesday, IICSA said it was Steel himself who told the inquiry “that he had ‘assumed’ from what he was told – that is, he accepted as true – that Cyril Smith had committed the offences”.

The report then goes on to say: “Lord Steel had every opportunity to correct or clarify his evidence to this Inquiry if it lacked clarity, or was misunderstood or misrepresented.

READ MORE: Willie Rennie under pressure to respond to Westminster abuse scandal

“He did not do so at that time. He also had every opportunity to say if he was struggling to hear or understand the questions.

“As the video recording and the transcript of Lord Steel’s evidence show, there was only a single occasion when Lord Steel said he could not hear a question, but that question had nothing to do with Smith’s account to him.

“For the rest of his evidence, Lord Steel answered the questions immediately and without seeking or providing clarification.

“In our view, on a fair and complete reading of the whole of his evidence to the Inquiry, it is clear that Lord Steel assumed from what Cyril Smith told him that he had committed the offences which Private Eye had reported, yet he did nothing about it.”

So the question for Willie Rennie is why did the Lib Dems say there were no grounds for action?

What clarifications they receive from Lord Steel that - despite all the evidence -  made them certain Cyril Smith had not confessed to any criminality?