Lib Dem Deputy Admits She Doesn't Know Why Lord Steel Was Let Back Into The Party

12 May 2019, 13:00 | Updated: 12 May 2019, 13:15

The deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats admitted to Iain Dale she has no idea why Lord Steel's suspension has been lifted.

Iain Dale challenged Jo Swinson as to why Lord Steel was let back into her party, after he was suspended over remarks he made about the late MP Cyril Smith to a child abuse inquiry.

The former party leader was suspended by the Liberal Democrats after admitting he was aware that Cyril Smith was a child abuser but took no further action.

Speaking to Iain Dale, Jo Swinson said that the investigation into Lord Steel was ongoing, even though he had been readmitted back into the party.

But when Iain asked why if he's still under investigation that he's been let back in, the deputy leader admitted she didn't know.

"I genuinely don't know," she said.

Iain said: "Sorry, you're a Scottish MP. This was a decision of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. You are the most senior Liberal Democrat in Scotland, you're deputy leader of the party, and you're telling me that you don't know."

Jo replied: "I genuinely am."

Former Liberal Democrat party leader David Steel
Former Liberal Democrat party leader David Steel. Picture: Getty

"What's the point of being a party leader if you don't know about these things?" Iain asked.

Jo then told Iain that she was "surprised" to hear the suspension was lifted, and that she "doesn't really understand why [suspension] wouldn't be the case for the whole [investigation].

"But that said, I'm not part of whatever discussions are happening in terms of legalistic process."

Iain said: "So to be clear, you do not agree with the decision to let him back in now?"

Jo replied: "Well I think it seems surprising.

"I would have thought that it would have been something which would have remained in place for the entirety of the investigation.

"That seems to me to be the obvious thing, so equally I think there's probably something about this that I don't know given that this is a live investigation."

Watch in the clip above.