UTTOXETER MP Andrew Griffiths will face no further action after sending 2,000 sex texts to two barmaids in just 21 days. An investigation by the Conservative Party found Mr Griffiths, aged 48, may have breached its code of conduct after a newspaper published lewd messages sent by the former small business minister. However, the party has conluded it would be inappropriate to take further action given the state of his mental health “both now and at the time.”
Mr Griffiths, who spent a month in hospital after the texts to Imogen Treharne, from Winshill, and her friend were exposed, expressed his regret and hoped constituents would understand.
He said: “Sending those texts was wrong, but my even greater mistake was to not spot the signs of my mental health crisis, to not ask for help, to try to ‘man up’ instead of admitting I was suffering.
“In doing so my collapse brought shame and misery to myself and my family.
“I hope that my constituents and the public will understand my collapse and the causes that contributed to it.”
Mr Griffiths resigned from the Government and referred himself for disciplinary action in July, after the revelations emerged.
Among the texts sent he called himself “Daddy”, and said “I want you to be really rough.”
Mr Griffiths issued a statement last week in which his long-standing mental health issues had stemmed from sexual abuse as a child by an older boy in return for Subbuteo toys.
“[Incidents of abuse] would always elicit another Subbuteo gift – new balls with black flashes, an action goalkeeper, some crowd figures. I told Mum I didn’t like Subbuteo anymore.
“I played on my own in the back garden instead.”
The sex texts, which were sent during 21 days in June and July, were revealed after the birth of his daughter in April and subsequent discovery that his brother had colon cancer.
The party whip currently remains withdrawn which means he stands as an independent, rather than Conservative MP.
Mr Griffiths said he had been on the verge of suicide: “A sick mind can find many difficult and quite frightening ways to cope.
“I am told it is not uncommon for survivors of child abuse to exhibit coping mechanisms such as mine.
“I have reread the texts I sent. They reduced me to tears.
“I am ashamed of those texts, but more ashamed that my wife had to read them.
“Many I do not even remember sending. None of it was things I had thought or carried out.
“They were just words, but words that spelt out the depths of my illness.”
Conor Wileman, chairman of East Staffordshire Conservatives, said in a statement: “Andrew’s current mental health status is something that both the national Conservative Party and our local association are taking extremely seriously.
“We are therefore in an incredibly difficult position because while we want to get on with our selection process as soon as possible, when the evidence suggests someone is unwell, we also have a moral duty to ensure that such a process is sympathetic to that person’s recovery.”
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