Watchdog clears Tory MP after he sent thousands of explicit texts to young women
A Conservative MP who sent two young women a string of explicit text messages has been cleared by Parliament's standards watchdog.
Andrew Griffiths quit as minister for small business last summer after the Sunday Mirror revealed that he had sent 2,000 sexual texts to barmaid Imogen Treharne and her friend in just three weeks.
The new father reportedly asked the pair to reply with photos and videos of violent acts, described previous sexual encounters and referred to himself throughout the exchanges as “daddy”.
An inquiry was launched by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner last year amid claims that the MP had misused official resources and brought Parliament into disrepute.
But the watchdog found that Mr Griffiths' actions had not "caused significant damage" to the reputation of MPs.
A resolution letter sent by the Commissioner said the evidence did not suggest Mr Griffiths had "acted or spoken on matters where the relationships presented a conflict of interest between his personal interest and the public interest".
It said: "Mr Griffiths’ conduct has undoubtedly damaged his own reputation, as well as his health and family relationships. However damaging these events have been for Mr Griffths personally, I am not persuaded that the texts he exchanged with the two women have caused significant damage to the reputation of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally."
The Commissioner meanwhile said it had been "difficult" for Mr Griffiths to "deal with the impact these events have had on his family and friends, his health, and his own reputation".
She added: "He has, throughout, acknowledged that these were consequences of his own actions and has not sought to deflect responsibility for them. He has been remorseful about the effect of his actions on his constituents and others."
The Burton and Uttoxeter MP - who was one of two suspended Conservatives to have the whip restored during a vote on Theresa May's leadership last year - said he was "grateful to the commissioner for dismissing this complaint".
He added in a statement: "She has confirmed that I was suffering from a mental health-related breakdown at the time which led to my actions.
“Mental health can affect anyone in any walk of life. I am now fitter and healthier and focused on representing my constituents."