Wife of ex-minister who quit over sexting scandal to replace him as Tory election candidate
The estranged wife of an ex-Tory minister who quit following a sexting scandal has replaced him as the party’s candidate for his seat.
Kate Griffiths was selected by Conservative members to contest the Burton constituency at next month’s general election after her husband Andrew stepped aside.
The former business minister has since endorsed his wife, but Mrs Griffiths said she had declined his offer of “political support”.
It comes more than a year after he quit the post following revelations that he bombarded two young barmaids with around 2,000 explicit text messages.
The Sunday Mirror reported that he also sent the pair £700 and offered to rent a flat to meet for sex.
In a statement, Ms Griffiths said the couple’s relationship ended on the day he admitted his behaviour and said “recent personal experiences” meant she now had a better understanding of domestic abuse issues.
“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.
“I have become a single mother and have had to fight to protect my family.
“I know people will have questions about my relationship with Andrew Griffiths and I want to be open about this. I left Andrew on the day that 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…
“My recent personal experiences have given me a much better understanding of domestic abuse issues that can affect women and men from all backgrounds. I will be a strong voice for abuse survivors.”
Mr Griffiths' decision to stand down as candidate for the seat he has represented since 2010 came after party members were split on whether he should be their choice to run for it.
He was cleared of misconduct by Parliament's standards watchdog after they determined that his actions had not "caused significant damage" to the reputation of MPs.