Labour MP Simon Danczuk faces possible expulsion from the party after it emerged that the investigation into explicit messages he exchanged with a 17-year-old girl will focus on accusations he “abused” a position of power.
The Rochdale MP has said that a series of text messages exchanged with teenager Sophena Houlihan, after she had asked him for a job in his constituency office, had been partly the result of a drinking problem and confessed that young women were his “Achilles heel”.
Revelations about Mr Danczuk’s messages to Ms Houlihan led the Labour Party to suspend him on New Year’s Eve.
Senior figures familiar with the investigation into his conduct told The Sunday Times newspaper that an allegation that Mr Danczuk abused his position as MP “looks proven” and that the case could be serious enough to expel him from the party.
“Abusing that position is what is at the heart of the investigation, in all honesty,” the source told the newspaper. “He hasn’t got much of an argument because he seems to have admitted that.”
Mr Danczuk, who has been a prominent campaigner against child sexual exploitation, has declined to comment on the reports, or to confirm whether he intended to continue as Rochdale’s MP in the event of his being expelled.
However he told the Sun on Sunday that he had a “drink problem”, which had been “a major contributory reason” for the messages he sent Ms Houlihan.
“I’ve seen a psychiatrist about it and he’s told me to stop drinking for six months,” he told the newspaper. “I feel awful about what happened. I don’t know what came over me.
“I’m so embarrassed that I’ve been such an idiot. I’m sorry for letting my family down and I’m already dreading my young sons finding out about this when they are older.”
He also threatened legal action against his ex-wife, Sonia Rossington, after she made a series of claims in the Mail on Sunday, accusing the MP of being a “sexual predator” and alleging he used drugs. Mr Danczuk said the “malicious allegations” were “totally unfounded”.
The MP has received support from the father of a witness who helped convict a child-sex grooming ring in Rochdale. The father of ‘Girl A’ is set to write to the Labour party to call for a “fair hearing”.
“He’s been an idiot. But the young girls of Rochdale that were groomed, they owe him a great debt…I don’t think one indiscretion should cost him his career,” he said.
A Labour party spokesperson declined to comment on the on-going investigation into the Mr Danczuk’s conduct.Reuse content