A police force's admission that late politician Sir Cyril Smith sexually and physically abused young boys in the 1960s has brought relief to some of his victims.

Smith, who was elected to Parliament in 1972, was dogged by rumours of abuse throughout his career but charges were never brought.

Both Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said if Smith had been accused today he would be charged and prosecuted.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Barry Fitton - who said he made repeated allegations that he was abused by Smith - said: "He's got to be stripped of his knighthood and his MBE. And I want an apology from all those who said I was lying."

Another victim Alan Neal, a councillor for the Community First party in Rossendale, told the paper: "For 48 years, people have chosen to say we were telling lies when we were telling the truth. Sadly some of them are no longer alive. It's still extremely raw and I'm a little bit bitter."

Mr Neal said Smith hit him when he was 11 year-old during a stay at a hostel, but when he told police four years later no action was taken.

A GMP spokesman said: "The Force is now publicly acknowledging that young boys were victims of physical and sexual abuse committed by Smith. Three separate files regarding Sir Cyril Smith's actions were passed to first the director of public prosecutions (DPP) and the Crown Prosecution Service although on each occasion no prosecution was pursued."

Smith was secretary of the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association, where he was accused of abusing vulnerable youngsters by spanking and touching them.

Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale, said he was pleased the police files on Smith had come to light and that GMP had revealed the details of its investigations.

Mr Danczuk added that he believes Smith went on to abuse more boys after police decided not to prosecute him in the 1970s. He told DayBreak: "I am confident in saying, having met a number of the victims, that he went on to abuse into the 70s, 80s and even into the 90s, so he was empowered by the fact that he hadn't been prosecuted."