Simon Danczuk steps back from child abuse campaign after it left him with depression and a wrecked marriage

Rochdale MP says Parliament is a 'lonely place' where there was an expectation to be 'tough'

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A Labour MP who has played a leading role in the fight to expose historic child sex abuse in Westminster has said he is stepping back from his campaigning role due to depression.

A Labour MP who has played a leading role in the fight to expose historic child sex abuse in Westminster has said he is stepping back from his campaigning role due to depression.

Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, said the battle to uncover paedophilia in the highest echelons of power had left him needing psychiatric treatment and it had also helped wreck his marriage.

He split with his wife Karen Danczuk in a bitter public break-up last week. Karen took to Twitter this afternoon to say she was "very proud" of his admission and it was "the first step to getting better". 

Simon Danczuk broke up with his colourful wife Karen last week

Mr Danczuk wrote a book on ex-Rochdale MP Cyril Smith, who faced numerous allegations of child abuse, and has campaigned hard for others who are still alive to face charges over historical abuse claims.

He has led calls for charges to be placed against Lord Janner, the Labour peer who was postponed by the party after the director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders said in April this year there was "sufficient evidence" to prosecute him on 22 offences of historic paedophilia.

Lord Janner abused children in Parliament, according to claims made by Labour MP Simon Danczuk

However she decided not to prosecute Lord Janner due to the severity of his advanced dementia, a decision that outraged child abuse campaigners and led to the CPS granting an independent review. The CPS last week overturned the decision and a "trial of the facts," where a jury hears evidence against an individual considered too ill for a full trial, will now be held.

But he told BBC Radio 4's The World At One that his experience over the last year had left him with suicidal thoughts and drinking too much.

"I would say I have been suffering from depression to the point where I have decided to seek help for that," Mr Danczuk said.

"I was getting angry at stuff that I shouldn't be getting angry at, fairly mundane things. "I was getting aggressive - not violently aggressive - but just getting angry about things.

"Perhaps drinking a bit too much, a full bottle of wine of an evening, and especially on Fridays when I would hear a lot and meet with a number of the victims. At times suicidal thoughts as well.

"It's not been really bad, but thinking that it is quite a lonely place.

Mr Danczuk said he went to the doctor after the election and was referred to a psychiatrist, who gave him "permission" to step back from the campaign.

The MP, who first entered the Commons in 2010, said he was "in no doubt" that the problems affected his marriage. "I think it took its toll on our marriage, there is no doubt about that," he said.

"I was struggling to sleep at night. Some nights I might get four hours sleep, so you're waking up and you're not in the best of moods.

"On a practical level, Karen would say why don't we not talk about this tonight, can we have a night off talking about child sexual abuse.

"Because I would be coming home some nights wanting to download some of what I had heard. Not everyone wants to listen to it, do they, quite understandably. No doubt that it has had an impact."

He said Parliament was a "lonely place", where there was an expectation to be "tough", but he said: "I do not think that's such a virtue in this day and age."

He received sympathy and gratitude from fellow Labour MPs for his fight against child abuse:

Last month Mr Danczuk used Parliamentary privilege to accuse Lord Janner of abusing children in Parliament. He said Leicestershire police had told him how the peer "violated, raped and tortured - some in the very building in which we now sit".