, , United Kingdom
|| June 28, 1928
|Died||September 03, 2010
|Last Modifed||New Jerusalem|
Nov 27, 2012 12:45pm
Cancer - Unitarian - Celibate - Disputed -
|Info||Sir Cyril Smith |
A powerful figure in Rochdale politics for almost half a century, Smith was a populist politician who moved from Labour to the Liberals in 1970 and was subsequently the town's Liberal MP from 1972 until his retirement twenty years later.
Smith, one of the most recognisable MPs of his day, was a popular figure in his constituency and acquired something of a cult figure outside it. This was largely due to his populist political positions, bluff manner and knack for self-promotion, but partially because of his immense size; at one stage he weighed nearly thirty stone (420 lb), making him the heaviest MP in the history of the Commons. Smith's reputation suffered from accusations made in 2008 that he lobbied for the asbestos industry (he was a major shareholder in the Rochdale-based asbestos manufacturer Turner & Newell and spoke on behalf of the industry in the Commons) and from long-running claims that he sexually abused boys at the Cambridge House hostel in the 1960s. These claims were confirmed as genuine by Greater Manchester Police in 2012.