General election: Wife of Tory MP who resigned over sex text scandal chosen as candidate for his seat

‘It is certainly not an act of retribution,’ says Burton’s Conservative Party candidate Kate Griffiths

Peter Stubley
Wednesday 13 November 2019 22:03 GMT
Kate Griffiths wife of disgraced Tory MP selected as canddiate for his former seat

The wife of a government minister who was forced to resign over a “sexting” scandal has been selected to stand for his seat in the general election.

Kate Griffiths, who is in the process of divorcing former Tory MP Andrew Griffiths, said her experience over the last 18 months had helped her discover “a strength and resilience I didn’t know I had".

She vowed to be a strong advocate for abuse survivors if elected to replace her estranged husband as MP for Burton in Staffordshire.

Mr Griffiths resigned from his position as minister for small business in July last year after it emerged he had sent 2,000 sexually explicit text messages to two female constituents weeks after the birth of his first child.

He was cleared of wrongdoing by a parliamentary watchdog in September on the grounds there was no evidence he sent the messages while engaged in parliamentary activities.

However, he decided not to seek re-election on Tuesday night and said that he supported his wife’s nomination as Conservative candidate. It was reported that local members were split over whether to keep him as their candidate.

Ms Griffiths rejected her husband’s support but told the BBC that her decision to stand was “certainly not an act of retribution”.

“The last 18 months have been the most difficult of my life but through my experiences I have found a strength and resilience which I didn’t know I had,” she said in a statement. “I have become a single mother and have had to fight to protect my family."

She said that she wanted to be open about her relationship with Andrew Griffiths, adding: “I left Andrew on the day he told me about the behaviour that was published in the press.

“Our relationship ended on that day and the divorce is being finalised. I am not able to say more about this now as legal proceedings are ongoing but I want to make it clear that I have not sought, nor do I accept Andrew’s offer of political support.”

Ms Griffiths said she was she not a professional politician but wanted to be “a strong voice for abuse survivors”.

She will be standing against Louise Walker for Labour, Adam Wain for the Liberal Democrats and Kate Copeland for the Green Party. The Brexit Party candidate has dropped out following Nigel Farage’s decision not to stand in Tory seats.

The Conservatives took the seat back from Labour in 2010, when Andrew Griffiths defeated Ruth Smeeth with a majority of over 6,000. His majority in 2017 was 10,047.

Additional reporting by agencies

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