Two months of sex and sleaze

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The Independent Online
A SERIES of Tory sex scandals began after Christmas with the disclosure that Tim Yeo, an environment minister, had fathered an illegitimate child by a Tory councillor, writes Colin Brown. Amid a row over John Major's 'back to basics' campaign, Mr Yeo was forced to resign.

As the storm abated, tragedy struck with the death of the Countess of Caithness from a gunshot wound in the family home. Lord Caithness immediately resigned as aviation and shipping minister. He was later accused by his parents-in-law of having an affair with another woman.

Older MPs recalled the Profumo scandals and wondered whether Mr Major's government would suffer the same fate as the Tory government of the Macmillan-Home era.

Tragedy turned to low farce when David Ashby, the Tory MP for North-West Leicestershire, admitted sharing a bed with a male friend to save money on a trip to France. After Mr Ashby's stormy marriage hit the headlines, Gary Waller, the Tory MP for Keighley, West Yorkshire, confirmed on 16 January that he also had fathered an illegitimate child, by the secretary of a fellow Tory MP.