The suspended Labour MP Simon Danczuk has reportedly admitted younger women are his “Achilles heel” and said that he sent sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old girl because he was “drunk, horny and on my own”.
Mr Danczuk, 49, told The Sun he had a “drink problem” that led to his behaviour, which he described as “inappropriate” in an apology after being suspended from the Labour party.
“Younger women are my Achilles heel,” he said. “Some men like older women, some like younger women, some like brunettes, some like blondes.”
He explained how three of his relationships were with women between 10 and 17 years younger than him.
According to the newspaper, the Rochdale MP said Sophena Houlihan, who he sent the explicit messages to, got in touch with him just after his second marriage to Labour councillor Karen Danczuk failed.
He said he struggled with depression after the split, and “turned to drink to help me through it”. Then he “struck up an online friendship” with Ms Houlihan, who had asked for a job at his MP’s office.
What began as professional conversations reportedly turned into sexually charged exchanges while Mr Danczuk was on a week-long holiday in Spain.
He said while he was there, he would often drink up to three bottles of wine a day by himself.
“I feel awful about what happened. I don’t know what came over me,” he said.
He said he felt “embarrassed that I’ve been such an idiot” and was sorry for disappointing his family, adding: “I’m already dreading my young sons finding out about this when they are older.”
In the interview, Mr Danczuk claimed he tried to keep a level of professionalism between himself and Ms Houlihan upon returning from Spain.
“I knew I had to stop messaging her those things,” he said. “She was the only person I’d done that with. I knew it was wrong. It played on my mind.”
Miss Houlihan told The Sun in a separate interview that Mr Danczuk should have known better than to send her explicit messages.
She said: “If I was a year younger then I would have been the same age as some of the Rochdale grooming victims he tried to help.”
Mr Danczuk fears his actions have discredited the “good work” he has done campaigning against paedophiles, which exposed MP Sir Cyril Smith and brought Lord Janner to court over historic sex abuse cases.
He apologised to the victims “I worked hard to help”, and added: “It’s a great privilege to represent Rochdale people. I’ve done so much in terms of bringing justice to those who were abused but I’m this flawed character.
“I’m very disappointed I’ve let myself get in this situation. All I can say to Sophena is I’m very sorry if I’ve caused her distress.”
According to the Sunday Times, the Labour party plans to expel Mr Danczuk, who will be "accused of breaching his duty of care to a potential employee".