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MP’s ‘sexting’ message read out in Commons



A “sexting” message from a Conservative MP have been read out in the House of Commons after he controversially had the party whip restored.

Andrew Griffiths saw his suspension from the Tory parliamentary party lifted on Wednesday, just hours before he voted in favour of Theresa May as the prime minister faced a confidence vote in her leadership.

The decision by Conservative whips to restore Mr Griffiths to the party, as well as two other suspended MPs, was condemned by opposition MPs as a “betrayal of women”.

The row continued on Thursday, when Labour’s Jess Phillips asked whether “political power or tackling victims of sexual harassment and abuse” mattered more to senior Tories.

Andrew Griffiths MP. Pic: UK Parliament
Andrew Griffiths voted in favour of Theresa May Pic: UK Parliament

She also used business questions in the House of Commons to share what she said was one of 2,000 messages Mr Griffiths sent to two women over a 21 day period.

Mrs Phillips said: “She’s so cute. So sweet. I can’t wait to beat her,” adding: “Can she take a beating?”

She continued: “Those are not my words, but the words of Andrew Griffiths while barraging two of his female constituents with thousands of sexual text messages.”

Mrs Phillips claimed both Mr Griffiths and fellow MP Charlie Elphicke, who has seen “serious allegations” referred to police, had the Tory whip restored “without any due process”.

Directing her questions at Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, Mrs Phillips asked: “What message does this send about how any process in this place can ever be trusted?

“I ask the leader of the house to answer that question and also to tell me what matters more – political power or tackling victims of sexual harassment and abuse?”


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Ms Leadsom has led efforts to respond to a bullying and harassment scandal that has engulfed Westminster in recent months.

She used her reply to reveal she was not consulted on the decision to restore the Tory whip to three suspended MPs on Wednesday.

“I am absolutely committed to changing the culture of this place and to seeing that everybody here is treated with dignity and respect,” she said.

“There has been a process that has been undertaken. It has been a decision by the chief whip. It is not something I have been privy to.

“But I absolutely assure all members that the independent complaints procedure, which is not involved with any party political processes whatever, was established and designed to enable everybody who works in or visits this place to take any complaints that they have to an independent place for proper investigation and proper sanction to be applied.”

Last month, Mr Griffiths was informed he would be facing no further action as a result of a Conservative Party investigation due to the state of his mental health, although – at that stage – the Tory whip remained withdrawn from him.

The Burton MP had previously revealed how he was on the “verge of suicide” following the emergence of his text messages, prompting him to spend a month in hospital.

He described how decades of mental health battles – following his being abused as a child – led to his “breakdown”.

Sky News has contacted Mr Griffiths’ office following Mrs Phillips’ comments.

On Wednesday, Mr Elphicke tweeted: “Important for my constituents to know that, 13 months after having it withdrawn, I have been given back the Conservative whip.

“I remain as confident as I always have been of clearing my name and will continue to work as hard for Dover & Deal as I always have done.”

A spokesman for the Conservative Party said: “They were elected as Conservatives.

“The restoration of the whip had been under consideration for some time, and the chief whip decided that in the circumstances of a leadership confidence ballot, it was right they have the whip restored to be able to vote in that.”

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